Xinhua Headlines: China returns solidarity with Europe in COVID-19 battle

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-20 17:42:58|Editor: huaxia

China, emerging from the most difficult time in its own battle, has been standing with Europe at a time when the COVID-19 epidemic is spreading across the continent.

BRUSSELS/BEIJING, March 20 (Xinhua) -- "China's experience is very valuable and can help Europe avoid detours," Jean-Pierre Armand, oncologist based in Paris at Gustave Roussy Institute, told reporters after a video conference with his Chinese peers on Thursday.

The tele-meeting on response to the novel coronavirus outbreak was joined by health officials and experts from China and more than 10 European countries, including France, Portugal and Denmark.

Last week, a similar video conference was held between China and 17 Central and Eastern European countries.

China, emerging from the most difficult time in its own battle, has been standing with Europe at a time when the COVID-19 epidemic is spreading across the continent.


Italy is Europe's hardest-hit. As of Thursday, the count of cases has reached 41,035 with 3,405 deaths, according to the latest data released by the Civil Protection Department.

On March 12, one day before the World Health Organization announced that Europe has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of nine Chinese aid professionals arrived in Rome with tons of medical supplies including 700 ventilators, monitors and defibrillators, as part of China's efforts to help Italy contain the novel coronavirus outbreak.

"This evening I wanted to show you the first aid arrived from China," Italy's Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio said during an emotional speech in a Facebook live broadcast, shortly after the Chinese team's landing. He pointed to his laptop which showed a group of Chinese nationals coming off the plane.

"These are the specialised medical staff who faced the coronavirus emergency in China, and in this moment have arrived in Rome," Di Maio said. "This is what we call solidarity."

Chinese medical team experts and Italian doctors pose for a photo in Padua, Italy, March 18, 2020. (Chinese Medical Team/Handout via Xinhua)

Organized by China's National Health Commission and the Red Cross Society, the group is the third expert team sent abroad by China following previous ones to Iran and Iraq.

Professor Liang Zong'an and Tang Menglin were both on board. Liang is director of the department of respiratory critical care medicine, and Tang is head nurse of the pediatric section at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

After taking one-day off for jetlag, Liang and Tang, along with their colleagues, showed up on Saturday morning in a ward at the Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases.

In the ward a couple were under treatment for COVID-19. They survived ICU after sinking into critical condition and now were on the mend.

In the afternoon, the experts visited the Sapienza University of Rome to get a better understanding of Italy's current situation.

Liang gave China's latest prevention guidelines, diagnosis and treatment plans to his Italian peers and exchanged ideas with them on the epidemic.

"The medical facilities in Italy are of good quality and its public health system is of great capacity, especially its system of family-doctors." Liang said. "Safe home quarantine can be achieved as long as Italy continues to reinforce this family-doctors system."


At home, the Chinese society is mobilized to help Europe's anti-coronavirus battle.

Last week, more medical protection supplies, including 5,500 protective suits and 40,000 N95 respirator masks, arrived in Milan, Italy.

Staff members load Chinese medical materials for Italy at Zhejiang Provincial People's Hospital in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, March 17, 2020. (Xinhua)

The supplies were jointly donated by Fosun Foundation of the Shanghai-based Fosun Group, Longfor Group and Beijing Taikang Yicai Foundation.

"The sooner, the better. As a global corporation, we hope to be able to play a part in helping Europeans win this battle," said Guo Guangchang, chairman and executive director of Fosun International Limited, which donated 5,000 face masks to Milan's municipal government and medical supplies to Portugal early this month.

On Wednesday, a cargo plane loaded with the donated supplies departed from Hangzhou in eastern China and arrived at Liege Airport in Belgium. The goods will be handed over to the French health ministry, the Alibaba Foundation and the Jack Ma Foundation said in a press release. On board the plane were also medical goods donated to other European countries including Belgium and Slovenia.

The Jack Ma Foundation said on Wednesday that 500,000 masks donated by the two foundations to Spain have arrived in the city of Zaragoza, and 50,000 testing kits will follow.

Also on Wednesday, another batch of medical supplies sent by China arrived in Paris, including protective masks, surgical masks, protective suits and medical gloves, according to China's Ambassador to France Lu Shaye.

"At the crucial moment when China waged war against the epidemic, France provided us with precious support and assistance," said Lu. "Now as France and the whole of Europe are facing the serious challenge of the pandemic, China is ready to provide aid as far as possible."

"This is a gesture that must be appreciated," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

Chinese medical materials are prepared to be loaded onto the plane to Belgium at Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, March 13, 2020. (Xinhua/Huang Zongzhi)


"We are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree, flowers of the same garden," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang cited ancient Roman philosopher Seneca as saying, when commenting on the nine-person medical team dispatched to Italy last week.

International solidarity and cooperation are crucial in the face of the epidemic, and China and Europe have been in close communication since the outbreak.

The two sides have formed a joint group made up of officials and experts. The group exchanges updates on the epidemic's prevention and containment measures, and shares experience and technologies.

Tang, the head nurse, said the friendship between Italy and China will deepen through this joint fight against the epidemic, given the severity of the disease in both countries.

"As the bridge linking the two peoples now, we Chinese medics have to do our best to help Italy and fulfill our mission," Tang said.

Chinese medical team experts talk with local doctors and Red Cross staff members in Padua, Italy, March 17, 2020. (Photo by Qin Xiaoli/Xinhua)

In a phone call with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday evening, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China will send more medical experts to Italy and do its best to provide medical supplies and other assistance.

Amid the epidemic, Xi has made phone calls with a long list of European leaders to show mutual support and coordinate their efforts.

"We showed our solidarity with China by delivering protective equipment, especially to Wuhan. The Chinese, who are gradually starting to emerge from these difficulties, have returned this solidarity," Le Drian said.

"We're grateful for China's support," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted on Wednesday. "We need each other's support in times of need." (Video reporters: Zhao Yuchao, Pan Xu, Duan Jingjing, Yu Wan, Zheng Mengyu, Li Tao; Video editor: Jia Xiaotong.)