Coronavirus epidemic ‘under control,’ says Chinese envoy; thanks India for assistance


NEW DELHI: At a time when he deadly coronavirus has claimed 1,868 lives in mainland China, the country’s envoy to India Sun Weidong on Tuesday assured that the epidemic is now under control.

He also said that the number of confirmed cases outside Hubei province is steadily coming down.

“The epidemic is generally now under control. As of February 17, outside Hubei province, the number of confirmed cases has been declining for 14 consecutive days across China,” Sun assured a group of people gathered for a daily press conference in the national capital.

“This is a cumulative drop of over 50 per cent. The epidemic in Hubei and Wuhan is being managed more effectively. There is a rapid increase in the cure rate from 1.3 per cent to 8.2 per cent. Over 12,000 people have recovered and are being discharged from hospitals,” he added.

The envoy also said that China and India have been keeping close communication on the epidemic. He also recalled a letter of condolence recently sent by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to President Xi Jinping, expressing his recognition of the tremendous effort made by the Chinese government to deal with the outbreak.

Appreciating India’s efforts to stand by China amid such a tragic time, Sun stressed, “The Indian side assured the readiness to stand by China and provide the assistance that India can, to face this challenge. At these difficult times, I am deeply touched by the kindness of the Indian friends. All these reminded me of the time when Dr. Kotnis saved many lives and made great contributions to the Chinese people’s liberation cause.”

Dwarkanath Shantaram Kotnis, also known by his Chinese name Ke Dihua, was one of the five Indian physicians dispatched to China to provide medical assistance during the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1938. Known for his dedication and perseverance, he has been regarded as an example of Sino-Indian friendship and collaboration.

On being asked whether there is a possibility that the virus was released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology accidentally but not from the seafood market, Sun noted, “We still do not have enough knowledge. This virus originated from nature, not man-made. The virus is terrible but any rumour regarding it is even more terrible.”

The death toll from the novel coronavirus has reached as almost half of China’s 1.3 billion-strong population remains subject to varying forms of travel restrictions and other quarantine measures, CNN reported.

According to China’s National Health Commission, since the outbreak began in December, more than 12,500 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospital.

According to an analysis by CNN of Chinese government orders, some 780 million people are still living under some form of restrictive movement, including all of Hubei, the northeastern province of Liaoning, and China’s two most important cities, Beijing and Shanghai. Restrictions include everything from self-quarantines to limits on who can come and go from neighborhoods. (ANI)