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Ambassador Liu Xiaoming Attends Webinar on Fighting COVID-19 in Africa Co-hosted by the Chinese Embassy in the UK and the Legatum Institute

On 13 May, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming attended a webinar on fighting COVID-19 in Africa co-hosted by the Chinese Embassy in the UK and the Legatum Institute, where he delivered a speech entitled Join Hands with African Countries to Fight against COVID-19. At the webinar, Professor Wu Zunyou, Chief Epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Professor Zhang Wenhong from Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, shared experience of China’s epidemic prevention and control with participants from African countries and exchanged views on strengthening tripartite cooperation among China, Britain and Africa. Around 500 people took part in the event on-line, including Baroness Stroud, Chief Executive Officer of the Legatum Institute, Sir Oliver Letwin, Fellow at the Legatum Institute and Former cabinet minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services of Zimbabwe, Professor Heymann, former Assistant Director-General of the WHO, Sha Hailin, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress, ambassadors and diplomats of some African countries to the UK, and government officials, medical experts, health workers and community workers from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and Lesotho. The webinar was broadcast live via Facebook and other media platforms.

Ambassador Liu said in his speech, “As the pandemic continues ravaging the world, the situation in Africa remains grave. We really feel for our African friends.” “China and Africa are good friends, good partners and good brothers.We have supported and helped each other over the years. At the height of the challenge from Covid-19 in China, our African brothers assisted us to the best of their capabilities and voiced their firm support for China. Now, China has achieved major and strategic success in containing the virus. We are reciprocating African countries’ support and providing assistance to the best of our capability,” he added, including donations of medical supplies to the African Union and to all the African countries that have diplomatic relations with China, sending medical teams to join the battle against Covid-19 in African countries and facilitating video conferences for experts of the two sides to share experience. China will continue to provide support to African countries, promote the development of Africa CDC, and enhance cooperation between China and Africa on public health and disease control, he said, expressing confidence that together China and Africa can build a community with a shared future.

Ambassador Liu pointed out that both China and the UK are important partners of Africa, and helping Africa in this fight against Covid-19 serves the common interests of all three. He suggested China, Britain and Africa focus on cooperation to contain the spread of the virus, help Africa enhance its capability of responding to public health issues, improve global governance on public health and safeguard fairness and justice in the world.

“We have come to a critical juncture in this battle against Covid-19. It is absolutely important that the international community should work together, rather than blame each other; save lives, rather than engage in a smear and scapegoating campaign; and uphold fairness and justice in the world rather than politicize the public health issue and stigmatize other countries,” said the Ambassador.

In closing, Ambassador Liu said, “I am confident that we will claim final victory over the virus and we will emerge with deeper China-Africa friendship and closer China-UK cooperation. Let’s join hands to write a historic chapter of mankind coming together against Covid-19 and building a community with a shared future in the 21st century!”

Professor Wu Zunyou and Professor Zhang Wenhong had an in-depth exchange with the participants, sharing experience of China’s epidemic prevention and control with participants from African countries including the specific measures and practices of early testing, self-isolation, clinical treatment, temporary hospitals, and community prevention and control. They also put forward suggestions in line with the situation in African countries.

Baroness Stroud and Sir Oliver expressed their thanks to the Chinese experts for sharing experience, saying that the webinar was an important opportunity for China, Britain and Africa to step up communication to contain COVID-19 and help African countries cope with the virus more effectively. In face of the pandemic, all parties should enhance information sharing to work through the crisis together.

Minister Mutsvangwa commended the Chinese Embassy in the UK and the Legatum Institute on co-hosting the webinar on fighting COVID-19 in Africa and thanked China for its valuable assistance to Zimbabwe to combat the pandemic. She said, at this critical moment, it is highly important that the Chinese experts share experience in pandemic prevention and control, which could be a powerful weapon to tackle the disease. As COVID-19 is a common challenge for humanity, all countries should be working together rather than blaming one another.

Professor Heymann paid tribute to the Chinese experts for sharing their experience in epidemic prevention and control, saying that it is China’s timely updating of information on COVID-19 that has enabled the international community, including the UK, to have a better understanding of the novel coronavirus. China’s experience in community prevention and control is a positive reference to other countries.

On-line participants welcomed the timely webinar and its huge professional and practical information which enabled the African countries to have a complete picture of China’s experience and practices in epidemic prevention and control and to gain confidence and strengthen capability in containing COVID-19 in Africa. China, Britain and Africa should further build consensus, strengthen communication and cooperation, and make joint efforts to win the battle against the pandemic.

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