Tunisian Minister of Health Abdellatif Mekki speaks in an interview with Xinhua in Tunis, Tunisia, on May 7, 2020. Tunisian Minister of Health Abdellatif Mekki on Thursday expressed satisfaction with Tunisia's cooperation with China in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. (Xinhua)
TUNIS, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Tunisian Minister of Health Abdellatif Mekki on Thursday expressed satisfaction with Tunisia's cooperation with China in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tunisia-China cooperation "was one of Tunisia's best experiences in terms of cooperation with foreign countries to cope with the spread of the virus," Mekki told Xinhua in an interview at the headquarters of Tunisian Health Ministry.
"This pandemic threatens not only one country, but also all humanity," Mekki said, adding that Tunisia has cooperated with many countries through the World Health Organization to contain the spread of the virus.
The Tunisia-China cooperation in the fight against the novel coronavirus has been done "in many forms including the scientific level, where we have recently organized several video-conferences between Tunisian and Chinese experts, and the commercial level with the acquisition of medical supplies," the minister said.
"We are satisfied with this cooperation, and we hope that it will develop further in the future," he said.
Mekki stressed that the Tunisia-China medical cooperation "is not occasional, but dates back to decades."
China dispatched the first medical mission to Tunisia in 1973, and since then, 1,000 Chinese doctors have been sent to Tunisia to help the country in the fields including general surgery, gynecology, obstetrics, radiography, pediatrics, orthopedics, cardiology and acupuncture, the minister noted.
The Chinese medical teams have provided health screening services for more than 5.7 million Tunisian patients, medical treatment for over 880,000 patients in Tunisian hospitals, and 320,000 surgical interventions, he added.
On Tunisia's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the minister said that his country has controlled "the first wave of the spread of the coronavirus."
"Tunisia is among the countries that have recorded a low number of confirmed cases of COVID-19," Mekki said.
On Wednesday, Tunisia reported three new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of the infections in the country to 1,025.
"In order to confront this pandemic, Tunisia took early preventive measures on the health and socio-economic levels," Mekki said.
However, he warned of a possible second wave of the virus' spread in Tunisia.
"Despite the positive results that we have recorded, we must remain wary of the possibility of a second wave, especially after the start of partial lifting of lockdown which allows hundreds of thousands of workers and employees to return to work in the public and private sectors," said Mekki.
Amid the improvement of the situation, Tunisia started on May 4 partial lifting of the lockdown, which includes three stages, from May 4 to 24, from May 24 to June 4, and from June 4 to 14.
On April 29, the Tunisian government listed the sectors involved in the first phase of the partial lifting of lockdown as transportation, health, food, self-employment, artisans and services.