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Evacuation of SA Citizens Is Understandable, But Preventing Measures Should Be Taken
--Statement of the Chinese Embassy in SA on the Evacuation of South Africans from Wuhan

We have taken note that President Cyril Ramaphosa has directed evacuation of South African citizens from Wuhan City, China, following requests from the families of South Africans in the city. The decision made by the SA government is understandable to address the anxiety and concern of its citizens and families resulting from over one month of quarantine in a city far away from their motherland.

It is also noticed and highly appreciated that in the statement, President Ramaphosa has expressed strong solidarity with and sincere gratitude to the Chinese Government and people for the assistance and support during this period and reiterated South Africa’s confidence in China’s ability to control the outbreak of the virus, as evidenced by amongst others, the commendable progress made to date.

We highly appreciate the kind understanding, firm support and strong solidarity from the SA government, Parties, media and people from all walks of life, and President Ramaphosa himself in particular at the critical juncture of China’s fight against the COVID-19 epidemic. We would also like to express our gratitude to all the SA citizens and students now in China, including those who are about to be evacuated back to SA, for their understanding, cooperation, support, sacrifice and contributions to our effective control and prevention efforts against the epidemic in China. Their friendship, brotherhood and solidarity at this difficult time has been tested and will always be cherished by the Chinese government and people.

I am proud to say, after over one month of arduous fight, the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic in China has been effectively brought under control. The situation in the whole country and Hubei province has shown a positive trend. The number of both the new confirmed and suspected cases has been declining continuously and substantially, the cure rate has been increasing and rising significantly, and the death toll remains low.

Taking the mainland China as example, the number of new confirmed cases a day has dropped from 3,887 on February 4 to 433 on February 26. The number of new suspected cases a day has dropped from 5,328 on February 5 to 508 on February 26. On February 25, there was no new confirmed case in 26 provinces. As of February 26, there were only 29 people died of COVID-19 nationwide comparing with around 100 a few days ago. Since February 20, more than 2,000 people have been cured per day for 7 consecutive days. As of February 26, a total of 32,495 people have been cured and discharged from hospitals. Facts and figures fully shows that the novel coronavirus can be prevented, controlled and cured. We are fully confident that with the understanding and support of the international community, China is sure to win the battle soon.

The Chinese government and people always treat foreigners, in particular South African and African brothers and sisters, as our friends and guests, and give priority to take care of and guarantee their well-being in China. We are happy to say that up to now, out of millions of foreigners, only 29 of them have been infected in China, only two of them died of the novel coronavirus, 9 of them in hospital for medical treatment, and the rest have been cured and discharged from hospital.

China is at the national war time against the epidemic at this moment but the difficulties are temporary. While quarantining themselves, both the Chinese people and foreigners in China are still able to study, work and do business online through China’s 5G technology. Now most of China’s factories and industries have resumed production to ensure enough capacity to produce medical and daily supplies for the whole nation and world. We will continue to provide all necessary assistance and facilitation to all the foreign nationals in China. If by chance getting infected, they will get the best medical treatment.

We are proud to say that up to now, none of more than 3,000 South African students and any other citizens in China have been infected. In the meantime, no confirmed case of COVID-19 infection has been found in South Africa as well. This is the great efforts and achievement China and South Africa have made. Considering the risk of getting virus infected, we still believe that it is a safe, cheap, wise and right choice for foreign nationals to continue to stay in China before we win the battle.

The COVID-19 epidemic is a global battle between humanity and nature, calling for the concerted efforts of the international community to win it over. Unfortunately to see, the novel coronavirus epidemic is spreading rapidly outside China and has spread to more than 40 countries and the number of confirmed cases has been rising rapidly in certain countries, more than that in China, posing a real threat to the health, safety and life of peoples around the world.

While ready to offer all necessary assistance to the evacuation of the South African citizens from Wuhan, we sincerely hope and believe that the South African government will take effective measures to prevent the virus from entering and spreading in South Africa and Africa. We will continue to maintain close collaboration with SA government to stop the coronavirus from entering SA.

In this age of globalization, no country can meet all challenges on their own. We face the same challenges, shoulder common responsibilities and have a shared future. What we need is solidarity and cooperation to win this battle. We do hope that scientists worldwide could join hands to identify the source of the virus and develop the vaccines and medicines to treat the virus at an early date for the health and well-being of the entire humanity.

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