World needs unprecedented solidarity to cope with COVID-19

By Ren Ping
What we are facing is the most serious global public health emergency since the end of World War II,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping in a speech he delivered at the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) via video link.
In the speech titled “Fighting COVID-19 Through Solidarity and Cooperation, Building a Global Community of Health for All,” the Chinese President noted that confronted by the ravages of COVID-19, the international community has not flinched. The people of all countries have tackled the virus head on, he said, adding that around the world, people have looked out for each other and pulled together as one. With love and compassion, the world has forged extraordinary synergy in the fight against COVID-19, he remarked.
No one had ever expected that a virus visible only in microscopes is causing severe impacts on the world, forcing countries to announce national emergency, triggering circuit breakers of stock markets, and impeding the global supply chain.
The spread of the virus is beyond human comprehension in multiple aspects, and someone even said the virus was carried by a piece of comet falling to Earth during a fireball event. Scientists and medical experts believe the novel coronavirus is one of the most tricky viruses in human history. Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) António Guterres stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge the world has faced since World War II.
The anti-pandemic practices of global countries in recent months indicated the virus is not a severer influenza; wearing masks is not useless; and quarantine measures are not violation of human rights. Coping with the most tricky virus allows no fluke or underestimation, but calls for attention and alert.
China’s success in containing the pandemic came from President Xi’s stress to always put people’s lives and health in the first place and take epidemic prevention and control as a priority. Having taken “the most courageous, flexible and aggressive control measures” in the past months, the country achieved significant strategic progress in epidemic prevention and control. Besides, China also firmly supports the UN and the World Health Organization (WHO) in playing active leadership roles in international cooperation on fighting against COVID-19.
At the most critical moment, China dispatched medical experts overseas for pandemic relief, sent medical materials to foreign countries, and shared updates on its diagnosis and treatment plans.
It’s clear to everyone that no country is isolated from the world or able to fight against the pandemic alone facing the spreading virus. As long as COVID-19 exists in a country, absolute safety is not enjoyed by the rest of the world.
Even Graham Allison, who raised the Thucydides Trap, pointed out, “Viruses carry no passports, have no ideology, and respect no borders. When droplets from an infected patient who sneezes are inhaled by a healthy individual, the biological impact is essentially identical whether the person is American, Italian, or Chinese.”
“At the same time defeat of this pandemic underlines a vital national interest neither the US nor China can secure without the cooperation of the other,” he added.
Therefore, solidarity and cooperation is not only the best, but also the only choice. Removing ideological prejudices and breaking free from unilateralism, and replacing disputes and bias with unity and rationality, the world can build a strong power to fight the pandemic and achieve an early victory.
On the contrary, politicizing the pandemic, stigmatizing other countries and the WHO, creating “political viruses” and disseminating “infodemic” are practices that reveal only unwisdom and ignorance, and are inhumane for the lives and health of all mankind.
Facts once again proved that a country will never be able to defeat the pandemic without respect for others, scientific spirit or unity, even if it enjoys developed economy, superior medical conditions and high welfare.
Epidemics are like a Pandora’s box that has been opened every now and then in the past thousands of years, threatening human existence and development. It is because of science and cooperation that the mankind is able to constantly make progresses.
In 1960s, the WHO launched the Smallpox Eradication Programme, which was participated by both the US and the Soviet Union, and finally eliminated the virus from the world.
The history shines a light on the future. When COVID-19 is exacerbating around the world, we should lay down arrogance and prejudices and embrace solidarity and cooperation to achieve the final victory over the virus.
Let’s come together and work as one. Let’s make concerted efforts to protect the life and health of people in all countries. Let’s work together to safeguard planet Earth, our common home. Let’s work together to build a global community of health for all!

An employee of the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation Ethiopia Country Office donates food to a local student on May 18. Photo courtesy of Tigist, employee of the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation Ethiopia Country Office

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