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Essam Sharaf: Time for solidarity and international cooperation


By: Essam Sharaf   Source: CGTN    Published: 2020-02-26

The COVID-19 outbreak has become a common concern for the international community. China has taken appropriate measures in time, conduct and function against the epidemic, and the Chinese authorities have been praised by scientists worldwide, including the WHO, for their responsible, effective and transparent response.

Amid the ongoing fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic, a number of China's measures and practices are worth learning from and applying widely. The WHO press conference on February 25 has made it clear that China's actions have spared hundreds of thousands from infection. Because of the timely and decisive measures taken, the virus was contained to a relatively confined area and hasn't become a more severe global threat. China has mobilized the entire population in countering this virus. The world is in debt to the people of Wuhan, said Dr. Bruce Aylward, head of the WHO's experts team that came to China for a survey last week.

Giving clear, transparent and honest publication in the media every day and building two fully-equipped hospitals within a short time are both stunning deeds. China enacted firm isolation of affected cities and stopped inward and outward flights with proper timing. At the same time, China called the WHO for a world emergency status announcement without delay or hesitation and conducted transparent professional communication and cooperation with other world agencies and committees. All of these measures managed to contain the major infected cases within China, providing a professional, respectable and ideal module for the world in dealing with such an incident.

The Chinese government has done a great job to prevent the further uncontrolled development of the epidemic, and I would like to give some suggestions for China's fight against this epidemic together with the international community. China should make continuous data updates and publications through the scientific and concerned world organizations and facilities. China should give continuous updates about scientific research in virus genotypes, specific prophylaxis, complications and curative effects. It is also necessary to make discussions, publications and announcements about different food patterns in different countries with the expected health effects.

International cooperation can be conducted in other ways. Firstly, the world could cooperate in areas like transnational medical assistance, vaccine research and development, personnel exchange, trade and economic relations. Secondly, all countries should work together on elaborating the establishment of different recommended ideal policies, modules or protocols for: 1. National and international epidemic isolation measures; 2. National and international prophylactic measures; 3. National and international disasters scientific committees. Only in this way can they have the same standard of reference in such incidents, making international cooperation more effective. Thirdly, detect early and announce any newly widespread illness symptoms with detailed updates listing effective measures observed in prophylaxis, control or management.

At last, China should conduct public health cooperation with other countries when building the Belt and Road. China, together with other countries, can establish international protocols for measures, limitations, facilitations and obligations in terms and conditions for transporting, importing and exporting goods during national and international health emergencies.

There is no doubt that the epidemic is bringing adverse impacts on the Chinese and global economy. In order to limit the damage, countries should exchange previous experiences in such similar or semi-similar conditions. It also requires hard work to coordinate the world's scientific laboratories to reach to the most effective controlling or treating agents.

When the World Health Organization announced the novel coronavirus outbreak was a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), it made it clear that it opposed countries imposing travel or trade bans on China. And WHO Chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also reiterated that there is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade. However, some countries blocked international goods and people exchanges and spread rumors and panic in the international community, which cannot be explained by anything but negative intentions as well as geopolitical and economic rivalries.

I believe that China has deep experience both in health care activities and in crisis management at such difficult times. I am so confident that China is able to win the battle against this epidemic and soon will recover in both health and economic fields.

The author  is the former prime minister of Egypt and a non-resident senior fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

Key Words: COVID-19   Global cooperation   Essam Sharaf   RDCY  

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