Author: Zhong Yan, Senior Researcher of The Senstrat,WAKi International Media Center 31-3-2020
The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that broke out at the beginning of the year is spreading for months, and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared as "global pandemic." At the end March, over 750,000 confirmed cases have been accumulated in 192 countries around the world, of which the confirmed cases outside China is almost 10 times more, and the United States is the top most confirmed cases in the world since weeks ago.
This is a historic turning point. Firstly, it explained that COVID-19 is the public enemy of all human and harmful to everyone, definitely not to be called "Wuhan Virus" or "China Virus", thus it exposes many anti-China ugly states. Secondly, it proves that the Chinese Nations resistance to COVID-19 is effective, whether it is China with a huge population or a tiny state Singapore, these two Chinese-led countries are well known for their anti-COVID effort. Thirdly, the European and American countries are at a loss in front of COVID-19, which is worrying about the out of control situation of the epicenter after the outbreak in Europe and US.
How Chinese Suffer Discrimination
Typical examples include a boy who was suddenly assaulted on the street of London in late February, merely because he is an oversea Chinese from Singapore whom looks no different from the other Chinese, but a gang attacked him and shouted "I don't want your coronavirus in my country". These feelings of hatred Chinese are obviously affected by the "poisoning" of some media and opinions. For example in early February, The Wall Street Journal of American mainstream media published an article "China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia" was just full of racist prejudice, and it reminds us the "Time Map" that partitioned China a hundred years ago, where its purpose is self-evident and its motive is obvious.
Coincidentally, some media in Hong Kong and Taiwan have been using "Wuhan Pneumonia" ever since. Although WHO has named the pandemic as COVID-19, those media in Hong Kong and Taiwan continue to degrade China with ridicule. Surprisingly, President Trump urged his people to reduce gathering outside, he also called the pandemic "Chinese Virus." Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People Republic of China has officially expressed strong objection with indignation, stressing that these are all stigmatizing China.
How China Curbs COVID-19
China has taken rapid action before the Spring Festival to curb the spread of COVID-19, these include to “lockdown city”, restricted the freedom of moving of hundreds of millions of people, at the same time mobilizing actively across the country to support Wuhan for fighting the pandemic. After two months of hard work, anti-COVID action that incurred a huge price has finally brought good results, the situation is now under controlled, new case almost zero, over 80% cured, for the diagnosed and the number of deaths is relatively reduced.
According to a popular video circulated online lately, a reporter from the New York Times introduced China quarantine process in a clear and orderly manner, from how to isolate till completely break the chain of transmission, and how to protect hospital resources from collapse. This 6-minute video attracted as many as 5 million views. The host said that China hospitals have separate hot clinics and are separated from ordinary clinics; many places in China is a must to take temperature measurement, those with abnormal temperature would sent for fever diagnosis; hospitals in China would perform CT on patients with priority to check for abnormalities in lung images, this provides a good pre-screening and auxiliary role for virus detection. Compared to US, the host found the testing process for COVID-19 is just too slow and inefficient; she said: "The preparations made in US are very different from those in China."
Anti-COVID Highly Praised in Lion City
Another good example of COVID-19 prevention of outside China is Singapore. As the hub of ASEAN, every effort was made to maintain normal business activities. The government announced the Annual Budget in late February with a multi-pronged package of measures to help entrepreneurs and public to curb COVID-19, and one month later another Supplementary Budget was announced to make sure Singapore is able to recover from the pandemic.
The anti-COVID measures taken by Singapore include: channel public sentiment to reduce panic, strict control of isolation, thorough investigation on the source of virus and tracking every case, deepening scientific research and testing. On the other hand, the grassroots organizations are leading the public to fight COVID-19 with good health habits, and the mainstream media also cooperating with the authorities to release positive information, expose rumours to refute false news. Enforcement units strictly handle all cases and quickly isolate any confirmed case, suspected patients are strictly supervised, any violator is severely punished by law.
At the end of March, Singapore accumulated about 900 confirmed cases with one quarter fully recovered and discharged from hospital, death is as low as 3 cases. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom openly praised Singapore as the "model" of anti- COVID outside China. Harvard University called Singapore's approach of detecting COVID-19 as the "gold standard" and encouraged other countries to use it as a benchmark.
Malaysia Lockdown Shocked Lion City
Between the end of February to early March, neighboring Malaysia shocked the region as COVID-19 spreading around with thousands infected. Number of confirmed cases is multipling daily and became the most serious epicenter of ASEAN. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced lockdown the country for 28 days.
This lockdown affected Singapore, as the causeway connecting both countries traveled by 300,000 people daily, among them were tens of thousands of Malaysian workers hiring in the Lion City. In view of urgency, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong issued statement immediately, saying that he had communicated with Malaysia PM to make sure the logistics and food supply chain should not be interrupted and the daily food supply maintained on both sides. For the affected workers, Singapore giving out special allowance of S$50 per person per day. Thus, Singapore resolved the hypertension quick and fast.
Why Europe Are Counterexamples
The pandemic is testing the political charisma and governance boldness of the leaders. In Europe, they also discourage wearing masks, but Italy and Britain are just the counter example. Italy has the outbreak in early March, then blooming all over Europe, even spreading to South America and Africa. There are over 100,000 confirmed cases in Italy, death soar to more than 10,000, mortality rates are much higher than any other country. The authorities blamed the aging population structure and shortage of medical resources, even prepared to give up those above 80 years old patients without intensive care.
In Britain, they began to take preventive measures in early February, but the number of patients gradually increased in many places, the pandemic brought a great impact, many people lost their jobs, even airlines went bankrupt. The government announced in early March that the strategy to curb COVID-19 has moved from the stage of "prevention" to the stage of "delayed". However, Prime Minister Johnson called on the public to reduce outbound contacts, and he bluntly stated that "more families will have their loved ones die", which caused an uproar. In-fact he himself was diagnosed as one of the confirmed cases later.
Anglo-American Measures Cause Controversy
The British "delay" measure to generate “herd immunity" in the society has caused much controversy, hundreds of scientists and scholars signed open letter denying the "herd immunity" strategy, calling government to adopt community quarantine, and even mimic Italy's lockdown quarantine measures. Opponents pointed out that the so called "more advanced humanitarianism" was to "wash the ground" for the inaction of some western countries, and worried that would create a big hole in the global anti pandemic effort.
As for the US, they discovered COVID-19 virus in late January but yet watching the fire across the shore to laugh at China. Even in March that virus is spreading widely, President Trump tweeted and claiming COVID-19 is "Chinese Virus". There is no doubt that panic is now spreading everywhere in US. The government took a series of actions since the end of January, which include banning visitors to China for entering, stopping flights to mainland China, and closing down multiple consulates in China. President Trump has repeatedly issued stimulating remarks, as in the end of February, he was just firmly believed that "the risk of American is still very low" and said that "we are ready", he also criticized US media and the Democratic Party by making use of COVID-19 to "cause panic in the market." Hearing still, Trump suddenly announced US in a state of emergency on March 13, followed by the government's approval of the outbreak relief plan, the federal funds rate reduced to an ultra-low level. These measures immediately caused a continuous plunge in the US stock market, setting a record since 1929 financial crisis. In response to the latest situation, Trump said that US does not consider national lockdown for the time being, and he believes COVID-19 may last until July, August or later, the US economy may also even decline.
COVID-19 has tortured human for more than 100 days, and it spread from Wuhan to all parts of the world now, causing 750,000 people diagnosed and more than 35,000 people killed. Undoubtedly, it is the public enemy of all mankind. However, China created a world record for this, as for the first time in the history of modern public health, China lockdown a city with a population of tens of millions; Wuhan as the frontline of COVID-19, made huge sacrifices and dedications, which made China won in the first half of the anti-COVID, thus became the pride of the Chinese civilization.
Now that spring is here, COVID-19 has spread to 190 over countries including Asia, Europe, America and Africa. The second half of the anti-COVID is now turned to countries with severe disasters, China with the valuable experience accumulated from the fighting against COVID-19, she has dispatched teams of experts to help those countries in need, include Italy, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan. China is duty-bound to bear the heavy responsibilities of a major power, but some big powers in Europe and America are getting lost and confuse of what to do. Instead of trying to eliminate the virus, they are thinking to take advantage out of it. Is this another ugly face reflected by the cunning COVID-19?