China is giving 500 sets of what it calls, the 'most advanced kits', to Bangladesh to identify coronavirus as a gesture of goodwill and strong faith that Bangladesh has in China in winning the battle against COVID-19.
"Even at its most difficult times, China never forgets to lend a helping hand," Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming said at a meeting with Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday.
He said the embassy just ordered 500 test kits from Beijing Genomics Institute to help enhance Bangladesh's capacity to detect coronavirus. The kits will be handed over to Bangladesh on Tuesday.
"These are real-time fluorescent RT-PCR kits for detecting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are the first such donation to any country from China," Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister (Counsellor) of the Embassy Yan Hualong told UNB after the meeting.
He said more such kits will be provided if any case is confirmed in Bangladesh.
Foreign Minister Momen said China has been very helpful to Bangladesh throughout the process and recalled Chinese government's support in bringing back 312 Bangladesh nationals from Wuhan city, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
He said the Bangladeshis returned home after 14 days of observation.
"We're in touch [with China]," he said, referring to Prime Minister Sheiklh Hasina's recent message to the Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Coronavirus Knows No Boundary
Ambassador Jiming said coronavirus knows no boundary, nationality or race and with each action of kindness and mutual help, the people of China and Bangladesh will be further rallied in confrontation of the epidemic.
He said they are also receiving donations from many local organisations and individuals who are keen to provide whatever help they could to the Chinese people.
The ambassador said the Chinese government has been offering positive cooperation and assistance in effectively responding to Bangladesh's concerns.
Also in the public health sector, he said, the Chinese government provided US$670,000 three days ago under the South-South cooperation to help reduce maternal mortality rate in Bangladesh.
"All of these speak volumes of China-Bangladesh partnership of strategic cooperation," Ambassador Jiming said, adding that it is during difficult times like this that the true strength of friendship between Bangladesh and China is revealed.
He said this year is a critical historical juncture for both the countries as China is going to eliminate absolute poverty and become a moderately prosperous society while Bangladeshi is celebrating the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and on its way to become a middle-income country by 2021.
"If we see this sudden outbreak as the final obstacle between where we are and where we are heading to, then it is clear that together we shall triumph over it and reach our destination with renewed confidence and friendship," said the Chinese Ambassador.
Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Bangladesh's support has been extraordinary, he said.
The embassy has been receiving letters of sympathy from various eminent quarters of Bangladesh, including from Foreign Minister Dr Momen.
To fight further spread of the new virus outbreak in China and globally, and protect states with weaker health systems, the international community has launched a $675 million preparedness and response plan covering the months of February through to April 2020.
"My biggest worry is there're countries today who don't have the systems in place to detect people who have contracted with the virus, even if it were to emerge," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
"Urgent support is needed to bolster weak health systems to detect, diagnose and care for people with the virus, to prevent further human to human transmission and protect health workers."
The Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) for the new coronavirus lays out activities and resources needed by international health organisations globally, including WHO, to implement priority public health measures in support of countries to prepare and respond to the virus for a period of February-April 2020.
Coronavirus outbreak has infected more than 69,000 people globally and killed over 1,660 people. The virus has spread to more than two dozen countries and affected global trade.
Ambassador Li Jiming had urged everyone to remain alert instead of creating panic and spreading rumours, noting that no Chinese national here and no Bangladesh national in China is infected with coronavirus.
The Chinese Ambassador also expressed displeasure for what he said overreaction from countries like the USA and Australia to the situation.
"Let general people be alert but don't create panic. No panic, no rumour, and be rational," Ambassador Li Jiming told reporters at the Embassy adding that there is no need for "overreaction" to the situation.