On March 21, 2020 the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Uganda, as a 36-year-old Ugandan national arrived at Entebbe International Airport after his business trip to Dubai. Since then, the number of cases in Uganda has been increasing, reaching 14 as of March 25.
Overall in the continent, Africa is also experiencing a wave of increasing cases, as the total number of confirmed cases reached 2,412 in 43 African countries, as of March 25. China and Africa are good friends, partners and brothers. We have long been supporting and helping each other.
China will never forget the invaluable support and solidarity given by Uganda and other African countries during China’s most trying moments, including this challenging period in the fight against Covid-19.
President Museveni sent a letter of solidarity to Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China. People of all walks of life, including Ugandan students in Wuhan and other cities in China, also expressed their support and solidarity towards China in China’s efforts to combat the virus. As an ancient Chinese poem says, ‘Give me peaches, and I will return you plums.
Not that I want to return you anything, but that I wish to maintain our amity eternally.’ Now that the situation is getting better in China, China will, as always, support African countries, including Uganda to the best of her capability, as she continues the arduous fight against Covid-19 at home.
Indeed, to date, China is delivering 12,000 more testing kits for African countries via Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). Chinese medical teams in different African countries are assisting the host countries in their fight against the pandemic.
On March 18, Chinese officials and healthcare specialists successfully held an online video conference with nearly 300 of their counterparts from the Africa CDC and 24 African countries, sharing China’s experiences and practices in pandemic control and clinical treatment, and giving answers to scores of questions from the African side. The conference lasted for three and a half hours and was well received.
African participants spoke highly of China’s effective battle against the pandemic and important contributions to global public health security, and were happy that the video conference was timely, professional and effective. They stressed that China’s experience and practices are exemplary, setting standards for African countries’ response to the virus.
They also expressed the hope to strengthen cooperation with China and fight together to win the battle against the pandemic. On the side of the people-to-people exchange, some Chinese companies and civil organisations have also provided urgently needed materials to African countries.
For instance, six million masks, 1.1 million testing kits, 60,000 medical-use protective suits and 60,000 face shield donated by Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation reached Addis Ababa on March 23, among which 100,000 masks, 20,089 test kits, 741 medical-use protective suits and 1,111 face shields reached Uganda on March 24, as retweeted by President Museveni.
No country can face the pandemic alone. At this trying moment, concerted efforts of the world are needed more than ever.
Unfortunately, however, there have been discrimination, hostility and injustice in certain corners of the world since the outbreak of Covid-19, with some country, by going against the code of naming by WHO, calling improper names to others. History tells us that racism and xenophobia will only exacerbate public health problems.
Misunderstanding, disrespect and discrimination and even verbal and physical attacks against countries and peoples suffering from the disease will do nothing but harm in the global fight against Covid-19, and will only undermine the efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Solidarity is strength. Only by working shoulder by shoulder can we win this battle against the Covid-19 at an early date, when we shall see the more beautiful sunshine after the storms of this virus.
Mankind is a community with a shared future, only through unity and coordination can humanity tackle various global risks and challenges. Going forward, China will continue to offer as much support and solidarity as possible in response to the requests and needs of African countries, to work together to enhance our mutual and respective capacity in winning the battle against the disease, and to implement the outcomes in the health sector of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
Solidarity is strength. Only by working shoulder by shoulder can we win this battle against the COVID-19 at an early date, when we shall see the more beautiful sunshine after the storms of this virus.
Mr Zhuqiang is the Chinese
Ambassador to Uganda.