Source: Sputnik News Published: 2020-1-30
Even though the Chinese government is taking great measures to contain the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus, Western media and so-called political pundits continue to criticize Beijing’s response to propagate their anti-China agenda, John Ross, senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University of China, told Sputnik Wednesday.
“This is obviously a situation where people feel tension … because people are not going out, and they are obviously concerned. This is even in cities that are not directly affected,” Ross, who is also an award-winning resident columnist with several Chinese media organizations, told Loud & Clear host Brian Becker.
“I pretty much have contempt for all these attempts to attack China over a situation which is extremely serious and disturbing for everybody - and for some people in China is a matter of life and death,” Ross said.
“What we have is an attempt just to exploit it [the virus outbreak]. The basic reality of the situation is that China’s medical history is something of a miracle. It’s got the biggest increase in life expectancy in a major country since the creation of the People’s Republic of China, [more than any other] major country in the world, and this is despite the fact that training medical personnel is extremely expensive and takes a very long time,” Ross added.
“Obviously, China has got a lower coverage of doctors or nurses than an advanced country. Very roughly, the US, or example, has double the density of doctors that China has. So, under those circumstances, the extraordinary increase in life expectancy in China is a tribute to the effectiveness of China’s overall medical system, because it doesn’t rely instantly on highly paid doctors,” Ross pointed out.
“So actually, the world should be rather grateful that this virus has broken out in a country which has such a good medical record,” he noted.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday applauded China’s response to the crisis, despite reports that China has not been accurately reporting deaths caused by the virus and how “testing woes” affected China’s ability to respond to the crisis. According to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who recently returned from meeting with Chinese leaders in Beijing, Chinese officials have demonstrated their commitment to halting the spread of the virus.
“Its actions actually helped prevent the spread of coronavirus to other countries,” the director noted, adding that he was “very impressed and encouraged by [Chinese President Xi Jinping’s] detailed knowledge of the outbreak,” STAT reported.
“The people most responsible is the WHO, and the WHO head [who was in] Beijing has strongly commended the actions taken by the Chinese government … The WHO is commending the actions taken by the Chinese government, and who is condemning the actions taken by the Chinese government? Political pundits. I’m sorry, these political pundits have no skills or expertise whatsoever in the question of how to deal with major medical emergencies, whereas the WHO does,” Ross added.
An article published Sunday in Chinese news outlet CGTN was titled “How can China build a hospital in six days?” It describes how authorities are planning to construct a new hospital in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus first broke out. The goal of the new hospital, which will be “equipped with around 1,000 beds,” will be to “prevent a strain on infrastructure in the city and to help better quarantine patients,” the article notes.
According to Ross, building a hospital in such a small time frame is “something China is capable of doing.”
“It’s already done it once,” Ross noted, highlighting an instance when China built a hospital with 600 beds in seven days in response to the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), SARS is a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, which is a type of virus that affects the respiratory tract of mammals. SARS was first reported in Asia back in 2003. It spread to 37 countries in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, infecting more than 8,000 people and killing 774 in 2003 before being contained.
The new coronavirus first began spreading in mainland China’s Wuhan some time between December 12 and December 29. As of Wednesday evening (GMT-5) when this story went to publication, at least 7,711 people in China have been infected by the virus, and at least 172 have died. Chinese authorities reported Wednesday that 37 deaths and 1,032 new coronavirus cases had been recorded in China’s Hubei Province, of which Wuhan is the capital, in the last 24 hours.
John Ross is senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University of China.