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China's anti-virus model urged as global solution by Chinese experts as confirmed COVID-19 cases expected to hit 1 million

Global Times

By Yang Sheng and Chen Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/22 20:33:40

As country after country of different development status, political systems and societal values fail to come up with a sound plan to stem the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese analysts on Sunday called on countries to put aside their political differences and swiftly and resolutely adopt China's model, which they believe the "only" proven successful model so far that could be replicated to halt the virus once and for all, so as to save millions of lives.

Despite advanced warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the time bought by China's unprecedented efforts in the virus fight, the number of confirmed cases outside of China has reached 223,419 and is expected to hit 1 million within a week, foreshadowing, beyond the numbers, total devastation for individuals, families and nations around the world.

Analysts attributed the increasingly out-of-control situation to a half-baked, chaotic response from countries including traditional global powers such as the US, where scientific evidence and facts have only been used for petty political expediency and ideological bias that has blinded leadership from the pursuit of effective solutions.

In the worst-case scenario, 80 percent of the global population could become infected if other nations cannot effectively control COVID-19, although it's hard to believe the situation has become so serious, as China has already played the role of a "whistleblower" for the world and effectively curbed its domestic outbreak, Chinese experts said.

On March 16, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in other regions and countries surpassed that of China, reaching 87,464. Within a week, confirmed cases across the world reached 267,013, while China has stemmed the flow to 81,416 cases. The surge resembles the situation in the early stage of the outbreak in Central China's Hubei Province.

Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems, Science and Engineering estimated that the global figures reached 303,816 cases with 12,950 deaths as of Saturday.

Chinese experience

Countries including the US and major European countries have reacted variously to the outbreak based on their own national condition and best judgment. The soaring confirmed cases outside China suggest their measures are ineffective.

This is no time to debate ideology or pass the buck, but time to resolutely replicate China's proven effective approach and experience: Track the infection source, find and quarantine all confirmed and suspected cases, try to save every patient and reduce the economic burden on hospitalized patients, Chinese experts said.

Given the rapidly accelerating spread of the pandemic, global confirmed infection numbers could reach 1 million within a week, Song Qinghui, a Shenzhen-based economist who closely follows the situation from an economic statistic perspective, told the Global Times.

The situation has been increasingly severe, for example in the US. There has been no testing on a mass scale, and some frontline medical staff are not sure whether they have been infected or not, which has become the biggest risk facing the nation, Song noted.

"If virus hotbed countries and regions do not have effective containment measures nor an effective vaccine, about 80 percent of the global population is likely to contract the virus, especially in some less developed countries and regions, the result would be disastrous," Song further said.

The main reason that countries, especially those in the West, missed the time window created by China's dedication to reining in the virus spread is that most of them didn't pay enough attention and some even used the outbreak to attack and accuse China's political system as a failure to governance, which is totally against the factual evidence, experts said.

Various US senior officials and politicians see the pandemic as a chance to serve their strategic purpose to weaken China and they are attempting to politicize the pandemic to "pass the buck" onto China. US President Donald Trump has also been "vocal" in such efforts by using the racist term "Chinese Virus."

Song said "in the most hard-hit countries such as Italy, Spain, the US, Germany, Iran and France, the inflection point has not appeared yet. We forecast Spain and Italy to reach their peaks on April 15.

The worst-case scenario is if the inflection point arrives after more than two-thirds of every country's population is infected, it would be more effective to adopt the Chinese model as the pandemic response, Song said.

"If the Chinese model were adopted earlier, global infections might have been tamed by now," he noted.

World's whistleblower

Many WHO experts and officials also warned the world about the looming pandemic and urged other WHO members to learn from China, including Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Bruce Aylward, head of WHO Experts Advance Team who visited China during the most severe period in early February.

China's counterattack against the COVID-19 outbreak can be replicated, WHO expert Aylward said at a press conference during his trip to China, but it will require "speed, money, imagination and political courage."

However, their warnings and recognition of China's measures have been viewed from an ideological perspective by many mainstream Western media outlets, and some assumed that the WHO was pressured by China. The WHO considered China's approach and methodology correct and they hoped more nations can learn from it.

Zhang Weiwei, a professor and director of the China Institute of Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Sunday the failure by Western countries to contain the outbreak is caused by their slow responses, shortage of funds, lack of imagination and political courage.

"Recapping at the very beginning of the outbreak, China was a country seriously insulted by the West. Now the situation has made a U-turn. China is moving toward a final victory step by step, and those Western countries who mocked and bullied China are mired in a serious virus crisis," Zhang said.

The arrogance and bias from their national leaders, political elites and journalists is hurting their own people with their arrogance and ignorance, Zhang noted.

Song Luzheng, a Paris-based political scientist and commentator, told the Global Times that many European countries don't understand how serious the outbreak could be. And in late January, when China sacrificed economic activities among many other things to lock down Wuhan and even Hubei Province to control the virus, some European media mocked and criticized the approach, accusing the practice as violating "freedom" and "human rights."

Political elites in European countries have lessons to learn in dealing with the pandemics - from criticizing and questioning China's measures to learning from China's experiences and even seeking assistance from China, but the process took too long, and the tardy response has caused unnecessary loss and casualties, Chinese observers noted.

Politicians in major Western countries care too much about economic data and stock markets, rather than death rates and numbers of confirmed cases, and liberal journalists care more about political values such as "individual freedom and rights," but they need to understand that without lives, those things they care about won't exist anymore, Chinese experts warned.

A Beijing-based expert on epidemic prevention and control who requested anonymity told the Global Times that China has warned countries around the world, and kept the other major countries, especially the US, posted since the very beginning of the outbreak, and China has also been frank about the mistakes it made earlier. "China is the whistleblower for the world," and it would be immoral and irresponsible to blame China.

With virus situation increasingly spiraling out of control beyond China, what China could do is to prevent imported infections at all costs, as Chinese people could not suffer another outbreak, and what China can do for other countries is to maintain its production capacity of medical materials, so that material supplies to other countries could be stabilized at least, and also enhance exchanges with other countries to convince their leaders to show more political courage to fight the virus, he noted.



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