WHO chief says COVID-19 cases in significant decline in China, its experience "impressive"

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-10 21:36:30|Editor: huaxia

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks at a daily briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 9, 2020.(Photo by Li Ye/Xinhua)

China's progress in containing the virus should be attributed to government leadership and the cooperation of its people at the same time, says the WHO chief.

GENEVA, March 10 (Xinhua) -- The chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that COVID-19 cases in China have been in significant decline, following the country's "impressive" efforts in containing the virus.

"What we saw in terms of experience from China is really impressive. Now the outbreak in China is on the decline, and there is a significant decline. The virus is hammered, and on a retreat. We're very glad that it's reversing and the viruses retreating (in China)," said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in response to questions from Xinhua.

The WHO chief made the remarks after signing an agreement with Chen Xu, China's permanent representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva, on China's donation of 20 million U.S. dollars to the WHO for cooperation in dealing with the novel coronavirus epidemic.

Staff members clean up a makeshift hospital in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, March 8, 2020. The makeshift hospital converted from a sports venue was officially closed after its last batch of cured COVID-19 patients were discharged.(Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)

He expressed the appreciation for China's quick move in identifying and sequencing the novel coronavirus pathogen and sharing the sequence with the rest of the world, which has enabled the world to prepare for testing, diagnostics and other response action.

"This helped actually the global community to move on. And this is very, very important," he underlined.

The WHO chief recalled his visit to China in late January, when both WHO and the Chinese leadership agreed that the response effort should focus on Wuhan city, the epicenter of the outbreak and Hubei, the province it sits in, where serious public health measures need to be taken.

He reiterated that other countries should use the window of opportunity brought by China's massive COVID-19 response action to contain the virus as soon as possible.

China's progress in containing the virus should be attributed to government leadership and the cooperation of its people at the same time, said Dr. Tedros, as "it cannot happen without the strong commitment from the government and strong cooperation by the people."

Staff members salute the cured coronavirus patients who have finished a 14-day quarantine for medical observation at a rehabilitation center in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, March 10, 2020.(Xinhua/Xiong Qi)

"This virus is very contagious and it's a new one, but still can be contained. The experience we have so far from China is that containment is possible," he said, urging all other countries to step up measures.

Ambassador Chen said the COVID-19 outbreak in China has gone down in a steady manner, thanks to the strong leadership and the united efforts of the whole nation. China will "do a good job to look after our own business, while in the meantime, try to extend a helping hand to those in need. That is why we have this donation of 20 million U.S. dollars to WHO."

According to the Chinese ambassador, the donation is part of China's response to the appeal of WHO, aiming to help countries with weaker health systems to fight the spread of the virus. "I think we are in the same boat."

"This is the time for facts, not for panic; this is a time for rationality, not for rumors; and last but not least, this is the time for solidarity, not for stigma," Chen noted.