The situation in Hubei province in central China, where the highest numbers of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases have been recorded, has been improving in the past few days, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said Friday.
“In the past few days, we have seen that the situation is changing and improving. In Hubei, it is improving remarkably as the confirmed cases have been on the decline for consecutive days,” Huang told reporters during an interview in Makati.
He said the Chinese government has been implementing measures to contain the spread of the virus.
“It has spread quite fast in the beginning so it caused a lot of concern in China and (among) top leaders of China. We have taken up measures, including locking down of cities, and we have more than 30,000 medical professionals from different provinces to help curb the situation,” he added.
Huang noted that conditions in Wuhan, the epicenter of the disease, have also been “stabilizing”.
“At the peak every day there are more than a thousand new confirmed cases but now we went down to hundreds. So that means that Covid, although formidable, is controllable,” he said.
Latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that as of Thursday, there were 74,675 confirmed cases in China, 399 of which were newly-reported.
During the interview, Huang appealed to the government to reassess its travel ban on China, citing the restriction’s possible effects on tourism and some Chinese-funded “Build, Build, Build” projects in the Philippines.
“Because of the travel ban, not only tourists have been denied entry, but also some engineers and workers in some major cooperation projects in the country. That might cause some delay in the progress of those projects but we are happy to see that the government is assessing the situation and taking some steps,” Huang said.
He underscored that the WHO does not suggest any measure to impose a ban on travel and trade.
“While we respect the decision of each government, we hope they will take reasonable measures,” Huang said.
A travel ban was imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on China and its special administrative regions (SARs), Hong Kong and Macao, on February 2 in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Recently, it partially lifted the restriction for new and returning overseas Filipino workers to Hong Kong and Macao.
Huang, meanwhile, said coordination continues between the Philippine and Chinese governments in hurdling the threats posed by Covid-19.
He also assured China’s commitment to assist foreign nationals, including Filipinos, still in Hubei.
“Since the outbreak, the Chinese government has taken a lot of measures to take care of those foreign nationals in China. We’ve set up a website to keep them informed and a 24-hour hotline for anybody who needs assistance. We have maintained very close engagement with authorities concerned in the Philippines to keep both sides informed about what’s happening,” Huang added.
He also extended his gratitude to the government for its gestures of solidarity in support of China’s efforts to contain the disease.
“We also appreciate the relief goods from the Philippine government to Hubei province, which has been widely reported in China and sent out a very good message as a gesture of tremendous goodwill, solidarity, and support to China’s fight. We will never forget all those friendly gestures and support from the Philippine government and the Filipino people that have proven again that China and the Philippines as close neighbors, as close friends have been helping each other through difficult times hand in hand,” he added. (Joyce Ann L. Rocamora/PNA)