Fréttablaðið Publishes A Signed Article by Ambassador Jin Zhijian Entitled Several Basic Facts of COVID-19 in China

On May 5, the famous Icelandic newspaper Fréttablaðið published a signed article by Ambassador Jin Zhijian entitled Several Basic Facts of COVID-19 in China, in which Ambassador Jin shared the facts checking of the conspiracy theories on the origin of virus, accusing China of covering up information and underplaying the reported cases.


The full text is as follows:

I am pleased to see that my Fréttablaðið article entitled Fighting COVID-19 Together on April 15 has drawn some attention from the readers. I also took notice of the Fréttablaðið article contributed by Mr. Þorgeir Eyjólfsson and Mr. Hrafn Magnússon on April 27, in which they questioned my statement of "Since the outbreak, China has been acting in a timely, open, transparent and responsible manner in sharing relevant information and experience to contain the coronavirus with the world." I would like to elaborate on a few points for your reference.

The origins of the novel coronavirus. Scientists all over the world are carrying out research on this subject and they put forward various viewpoints, hypotheses and speculations. However, the international preliminary research findings are unable to identify the initial transmission routes of the novel coronavirus. Conspiracy theories that the novel coronavirus originated in Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) have no basis. Before receiving the first test samples of COVID-19 patients on December 30, 2019, there was no novel coronavirus in WIV. So far, no WIV staffs get infected by novel coronavirus either. WHO points out that all evidence shows that the virus comes from nature rather than the lab. China is the first country to report COVID-19 cases, but that doesn't necessarily make China the origin of the novel coronavirus. The origin of the novel coronavirus is a complicated and difficult scientific matter that should be the subject of study for scientists and medical experts. I believe time will tell.

China's early response to the pandemic and information sharing with the world. The two authors claimed that the first case of COVID-19 in China dated back to December 1, 2019, and China waited until Jan 3, 2020 to report to WHO. This can be seen as a prove of China's poor handling and covering-up of the pandemic. However, the fact is that the Chinese authorities received the first alert on the disease via the official reporting system on December 27, 2019. It was Doctor Zhang Jixian of Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine who first reported to the Wuhan health authorities with 3 cases of pneumonia of unknown cause. With 3-day epidemiological investigation, on December 31, 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission released a briefing about the pneumonia outbreak in the city, and reported to the representative office of WHO in China on the same day with a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan. Starting Jan. 3 2020, China has been regularly informing the WHO and relevant countries about the pneumonia outbreak. On Jan 8, China initially identified a new coronavirus as the cause of the pandemic. On Jan 11, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention uploaded all the five genetic sequences of the novel coronavirus onto the website for sharing with the world and the WHO. On Jan 20, the National Health Commission leading experts confirmed human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus with solid epidemiological investigation. On Jan 23, Wuhan announced lockdown, and by then there were only 10 confirmed cases outside China with zero case in Europe. China's timely and effective measures have forged the very front line of global defense against COVID-19. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hailed the high speed and massive scale of China's moves that were rarely seen in the world, which showed China's efficiency and the advantages of China's system. He commented that China's measures were not only protecting its people, but also protecting the people in the whole world.

China's confirmed COVID-19 cases and death toll. Joint efforts have contributed to the relatively low figures of both confirmed and deceased COVID-19 cases in China. First of all, since the early stage of the outbreak, the Chinese government has adopted the most comprehensive, stringent and thorough prevention and control measures which became key factors for containing the spread of the virus. According to the report released by the famous academic journal "Science", the Wuhan travel ban or the national emergency response have reduced nearly 700,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Secondly, in a matter of life and death with COVID-19, the Chinese government implemented policies of hospitalization of all who need to be hospitalized, and treating all who need to be treated at all costs. China made full use of the advantage of its social system and allocated resources with high efficiency across the country. More than 42,000 health workers including the best experts nationwide were dispatched to Hubei. Two specialized hospitals with a total of 2500 isolation beds built in just 2 weeks, together with 19 temporary cabinet hospitals, have ensured all patients to be treated in time. Thirdly, the wide use and effectiveness of the combination of traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine has become a major feature of China's clinical treatment. Statistics show that both the rate of traditional Chinese medicine use and effectiveness in treating patients in China was more than 90 percent, which largely reduced the infection rate, the mortality rate and speed up recovery.

The international community should constantly gain experience and learn lessons in our response to the unknown novel coronvirus. There is no standard solution that applies in each country, and all countries are figuring out their own best ways to defeat the disease. We do not need any more suspicious accusations and attacks, but strengthened cooperation and concerted efforts in international community to defeat COVID-19 in order to greet the bright future.

Chinese Ambassador to Iceland Jin Zhijian