TRIPOLI, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Libya seeks to benefit from China's experience in controlling COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, a Libyan health official said on Tuesday.
Bard-Addin Al-Najjar, director of Libya's National Center for Disease Control, told Xinhua in an interview that China, which has successfully controlled the coronavirus spread in the past two months, has a "pioneering experience" in dealing with the epidemic.
"China has experience and willingness to confront any future epidemic ... We, in Libya, want to benefit from this experience, which will raise our levels of readiness to confront this global epidemic," Al-Najjar said.
"Beijing offered to help countries that have difficulty facing COVID-19. We want help from the Chinese experience and (we need) medical equipment," he added.
The Libyan official said his center is testing a number of patients suspected of being infected with the coronavirus, but no case has been detected so far.
Libya's UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez Serraj on Saturday declared state of emergency and mobilization against possible coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Precautionary measures will be applied, including closing all airports and border crossings for three weeks starting from Monday, Serraj said in a televised speech.
Serraj said his government is committed to applying the World Health Organization's Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan against the viral respiratory disease.
"Today, we launched a national plan to respond to and counter the coronavirus," Al-Najjar said.
He said his center will take up the responsibility of testing all suspected cases throughout the country.
But the official expressed his concern that the war-torn country "might run out of the operational equipment anytime," if the situation gets worse.
"Technically, we have staff with experience to deal with such virus. However, at the same time we need urgent help to guarantee Libya remains free of coronavirus," he said.