On February 4th, Consul General Huang Ping held a press conference in the Consulate. He introduced China's timely and strong prevention and control of the novel Coronavirus, as well as measures taken by the Consulate, and answered journalists' questions. Deputy Consul General Qian Jin host the press conference.
Journalists from the Associated Press, Reuters, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox Business, US China Press, World Journal, Sing Tao Daily, Chinese Radio Network in New York, South Morning China Post, as well as People's Daily, Xinhua News Agency, China Media Group, China Daily, China News Service, Beijing Review etc. attended the press conference.
Huang Ping firstly briefed on measures taken by China to fight against the novel Coronavirus outbreak. He emphasized that people's well-being always comes first. President Xi Jinping chaired a special meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on the outbreak on January 25th and February 3th respectively and pointed out that the most crucial task for the moment is to execute the arrangements to the details and called for prompt and resolute actions in containing the spread of the epidemic. Entrusted by President Xi, Premier Li Keqiang visited Wuhan on Jan 27th to inspect novel Coronavirus prevention and control efforts. Currently, Chinese government has taken all-around, strict measures to contain the epidemic situation, including building an comprehensive and multi-layered prevention and control system, ensuring medical supplies and teams to Hubei Province, enhancing public health knowledge education, preventing the epidemic from flowing out of the country and so on. China has the confidence and capability to win this battle.
Huang Ping said these forceful measures are showing positive effects. In Wuhan, Huoshenshan Hospital, with a capacity of 1,000 beds, is built within 10 days and dedicated to treating confirmed patients. A second facility, Leishenshan Hospital, with 1,500 beds, is expected to be completed this week. Currently, the mortality rate in China is about 2.1%, much lower than SARS. As of 24:00 February 3, 632 patients have been cured and discharged and this figure steadily increases.
Asked about China's measures to cut off the spread of the virus globally and its transparency, Huang Ping said that China strengthens the monitoring of the epidemic through temporary closures of public venues, personnel tracking and management, temperature detection at railway stations, airports, etc. Chinese people also make sacrifices and choose to stay at home during the holiday. Since the outbreak, the Chinese government has released information and shared data with the US and the rest of the international community in a timely, transparent and responsible manner. In addition to sharing information such as the genetic sequence of the new virus at the first time, China also invited experts from the WHO and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions to do field study in Wuhan.
Regarding US reaction and its assistance to help China fight against the epidemic, Huang Ping said while US temporarily banned the entry of all foreigners who traveled to China within 14 days, WHO clearly stated that it doesn't recommend travel and trade restrictions against China. Epidemic prevention is a challenge for all human-beings. The fight against the Coronavirus outbreak shows again that we live in a shared community where all of us are intertwined and interdependent.
Huang Ping expressed gratitude and appreciation to the American people and people of other countries for their valuable support to China. Overseas Chinese communities and companies here have donated cash and items to Chinese hospitals and charities. Dr. Walter Lipkin, who has been known as the virus-hunter and assisted China fighting SARS in 2003, currently works with Chinese scientists and medical staff to fight the epidemic.
Commenting on the closing of the US Consulate General in Wuhan and evacuation of personnel, Huang Ping said China makes arrangements that are in accordance with international customary practices and our epidemic control measures, and provides necessary assistance and convenience. However, I personally don't quite get it. It is not the practice of Chinese diplomats. I did a few evacuations before and at such a difficult time, Chinese diplomats would be sent in, rather than pulling out, because Chinese people there need you.
Regarding the measures taken by the Consulate, Huang Ping said the Consulate has been in close communication with the local governments in the consular districts like Massachusetts, New York, etc. since the outbreak. Yesterday I traveled to Boston and met with Marty Meehan, President of UMass. We are glad to learn this student has been taken good care of and is steadily recovering from the Coronavirus infection. The Consulate also pays close attention to the epidemic situation in the consular district and issue relevant reminders in a timely manner through the website, WeChat public account and Instagram account. We strengthen consular work and deploy more manpower to answer Chinese citizens' inquiries for help timely.
Regarding panic and even anti-Chinese bigotry in some areas in the US related to the Coronavirus, Huang Ping expressed concern to the media reports of prejudice against Chinese people wearing masks. Huang Ping said that the virus is the enemy, not the Chinese. People need not overreact. Rather, we should come together to deal with the virus. I hope that people can react to the epidemic situation in a rational manner and on the scientific basis, follow guidance from WHO, as well as respecting specialists' professional recommendations.
Hung Ping emphasized that amid the outbreak, people around the world should put aside differences and unite together. humanity will eventually overwhelm calamity. Rationality will overwhelm angst. As US former president Franklin D. Roosevelt said, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
Journalists appreciated the Consulate's efforts to organize this press conference. The Associated Press and "Fox News" Facebook account broadcast live. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NBC, ABC, Fox Business and South China Morning Post reported the press conference. The Consulate also shared a Live on the official Instagram in real-time.