China held a meeting on Tuesday to honor role models in the country’s fight against the COVID-19 epidemic – the fastest spreading, most extensive and most challenging public health emergency it has encountered since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
Renowned respiratory disease expert Zhong Nanshan was awarded the Medal of the Republic, the highest state honor. Zhong identified the SARS virus in 2003 and is currently leading the Chinese government’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19.
Three other medical specialists were conferred on the national honorary title, “the People’s Hero.” The recipients are Zhang Boli, a traditional Chinese medicine expert who presided over the research of the COVID-19 treatment scheme combining traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine, Zhang Dingyu, head of Wuhan’s designated coronavirus-treating Jinyintan Hospital, and Chen Wei, a military medical scientist who made major achievements in COVID-19-related basic research and development of vaccine and protective medicine.
“Medical workers are the most beautiful angels and the most lovable people in the new era,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a speech after presenting the medals. “Their names and feats will never be forgotten by the nation, the people and history, and will be engraved on the monument of the republic.”
Millions of medical workers fought on the frontline against COVID-19 nationwide, including 540,000 in central China’s Hubei Province and its capital city Wuhan, the hardest-hit region during the outbreak, said Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
Joint efforts to address global challenges
Xi pledged that China will join hands with the international community to tackle the global challenges of the pandemic.
Noting that the novel coronavirus outbreak is the worst pandemic the world has seen in a century, he underscored China’s contributions in the global fight.
China has acted with “openness, transparency and responsibility” and actively fulfilled its international obligations since the start of the outbreak, he stressed.
It “voluntarily provided information about the outbreak to the World Health Organization (WHO) and relevant countries and regional organizations in a most timely fashion, and released the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus at the earliest possible time,” he said.
China has conducted more than 70 exchanges with various countries and international and regional organizations on epidemic control to share its experience, Xi noted.
China has announced the decision to provide two batches of cash support totaling 50 million U.S. dollars to the WHO; it has sent 34 medical expert teams to 32 countries and offered assistance to 150 countries and four international organizations; from March 15 to September 6, the country exported 151.5 billion masks, 1.4 billion protective suits, 230 million pairs of goggles, 209,000 ventilators, 470 million testing kits and 80.14 million infrared thermometers, according to Xi.
The pandemic has demonstrated that mankind is a community that shares weal and woe, he said, calling for solidarity and cooperation across the world to tackle the crisis.
China will continue to promote international cooperation on epidemic control, support the WHO in playing the leading role in the fight, and contribute to the building of a community of common health for mankind, he said.
China steadfast in pursuing better future
The president reviewed what measures China has taken to fight the virus and called for unity and determination throughout the nation to address challenges and achieve development goals.
Over the past seven-plus months, more than 80,000 Chinese were infected by the virus and about 4,700 people lost their lives. The numbers could have been much bigger without the firm measures implemented at various levels and sacrifices made by medical workers, community workers as well as residents who have strictly followed restrictions for epidemic control.
“In little more than a month, the rising spread of the virus was contained; in around two months, the daily increase in domestic coronavirus cases fell to single digits; and in approximately three months, a decisive victory was secured in the battle to defend Hubei Province and its capital city of Wuhan,” Xi noted.
With the easing of the outbreak, China announced a series of policies to help enterprises, create jobs, boost investment and consumption and advance poverty alleviation, he said.
The world’s second-largest economy grew by 3.2 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, reversing a 6.8-percent decline in the first quarter.
“China has become the first major economy to return to growth since the start of the pandemic,” Xi said.
Looking ahead, Xi said China must continue to implement regular epidemic control measures and strive for full victory in the fight against COVID-19.
He stressed strengthening institutional guarantees for safeguarding the people’s lives and health, calling for developing a strong public health system and upgrading the system of prevention, control and treatment of major epidemics.
He also called for intensified efforts to ensure economic growth and improve people’s livelihood, stressing that national development goals and tasks must be accomplished.
China aims to eradicate absolute poverty and complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020.
Meanwhile, Xi stressed the importance of increasing awareness of risks and sticking to bottom-line thinking and called for efforts to enhance capabilities to prevent and defuse different kinds of risks along China’s development path.
He expressed confidence in China’s future in the new era. “Nobody and no force can stop the Chinese people from achieving a better life!” Xi said.
Think Tank Releases an Analytical Report on the Global Situation of the COVID-19 Pandemic
As the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet subsided, the CGTN Think Tank has released the Analytical Report on the Global Situation of the COVID-19 Pandemic (the “Report”) by sourcing data from the Johns Hopkins University website, Our World in Data and Pharmaceutical Technology that have not been comprehensively processed, analyzing research literature from the academic community and referring to the known impact of the pandemic on global economic and social development as well as the recommendations on its prevention and control from renowned public health experts. The Report puts together the data on pandemic prevention and control measures in 51 sample countries to make rankings as a way of reflecting the current situation of pandemic control in these countries. It focuses on the importance that countries attach to personal safety, social and environmental stability, thereby providing ideas and directions for countries around the world to fight the pandemic.
The Report analyzes and evaluates the current status of pandemic prevention and control in the 51 countries based on five indicators, including the total number of confirmed cases, the number of newly confirmed cases, the total number of deaths, the number of vaccinations and the full cycle from pandemic outbreak to control as of 14 July.
The data shows that the United States has the worst performance on three of the five statistical indicators. The U.S. has over 34 million confirmed cases in total, the highest in the world, and over 600,000 deaths in total, also the highest in the world; and the number of days with less than 5,000 daily new cases in the full cycle from pandemic outbreak to control is only 62, still the worst among the sample countries.
According to the data, the situation in main European countries is not encouraging. When it comes to the total number of confirmed cases and deaths, France, the UK and Italy all rank high.
The data shows that some Asian countries have performed well in pandemic prevention and control, thanks to effective measures such as entry bans, quarantine and stringent testing at the border. China has the lowest number of confirmed new cases among the sample countries and the highest number of vaccinations in the world; Singapore and Vietnam rank low among all sample countries for the total number of COVID-19 deaths; and South Korea has adjusted the level of pandemic response in a timely manner, resulting in 537 days with less than 5,000 daily new cases.
In terms of the number of vaccinations, China is one of a few developing countries with the highest number of COVID-19 vaccinations due to its ability to develop and manufacture its own vaccines. At present, over 1.4 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in China. China has also supplied more than 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and stock solutions to more than 100 countries and international organizations worldwide, equivalent to one-sixth of the total global vaccine production. However, the statistics also lay bare that the vaccination progress in developing countries is significantly worse than that in developed countries, due to the severe inequality in the global distribution of vaccines. Countries with a poor vaccination record, such as Vietnam and Iraq, are still far from reaching herd immunity due to various limitations, such as poor health service and vaccine hoarding by certain developed countries.
The polarization in the number of confirmed cases, the number of deaths and the number of people vaccinated in different countries and regions of the world, as shown by the objective statistics, is very much related to national pandemic prevention and control policies and measures, and highlights the crucial role played by a country’s government in pandemic prevention and control.
COVID-19 tracker: the latest figures by country
Xi Jinping Inspects Southwest China’s Tibet
President Xi Jinping visited the city of Nyingchi in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. He arrived at Nyingchi Mainling Airport on Wednesday and was welcomed by local residents and officials of various ethnic groups.
He then visited the Nyang River Bridge to inspect ecological preservation in the basin of the Yarlung Zangbo River and its tributary Nyang River.
In the afternoon, President Xi visited an urban planning center, a village and a park to learn about urban development planning, rural revitalization, urban park construction and other work. 00:37
On Thursday, he went to Nyingchi Railway Station and inspected the overall planning of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway and the construction and operation of the Lhasa-Nyingchi section. He then took a train to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.
In Lhasa, Xi visited the Drepung Monastery, Barkhor Street and Potala Palace square to learn about the work on ethnic and religious affairs, the conservation of the ancient city, and the inheritance and protection of Tibetan culture. He also chatted with residents.
Xi’s visit came as Tibet celebrates its 70th anniversary of peaceful liberation.
Peng Liyuan Addresses SCO Forum on Fomen’s Education, Poverty Alleviation
Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, on Tuesday addressed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) forum on women’s education and poverty alleviation via video.
Peng, who is also a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) special envoy for the advancement of girls and women’s education, said eliminating poverty and embracing happiness are the common aspirations of all women. By receiving education, knowledge and skills, women can have the power to lift themselves out of poverty.
Thanks to China’s unremitting efforts, the country has achieved a victory in the fight against extreme poverty, and hundreds of millions of Chinese women have been lifted out of poverty, she said, adding that China has adopted a series of measures to ensure women’s equal access to education and make them beneficiaries, participants and contributors in poverty alleviation.
Peng said reducing poverty through women’s education will have a strong impetus if a country attaches great importance to it, social organizations actively support it and people from all walks of life make selfless contributions.
She mentioned how Guizhou’s provincial government motivated more than 500,000 women to work at home by developing a women-tailored handcraft industry, how more than 3 million poor girls were able to complete their education under the nationally funded Spring Bud Project, and how a teacher named Zhang Guimei founded a free high school in an impoverished area that helped nearly 2,000 girls enter college.
With 435 million women still living in poverty in the world, the gender gap in education remains clear, Peng said, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic poses new challenges to reducing poverty for women.
Over the past 20 years, since the establishment of the SCO, women from member states have followed the “Shanghai Spirit,” exchanged experiences on women’s development, promoted cooperation in various fields and contributed their share to advancing SCO cooperation, Peng said.
We need to unite our love and make long-lasting efforts, continue to deepen cooperation in women’s education and poverty reduction, let education shine a light of hope on women and make more women enjoy opportunities to live a beautiful life, she said.
The forum is jointly organized by the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF), the Committee of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation of the SCO and the Secretariat of SCO.
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