Staff members work at a workshop of Skyworth in Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong Province, Feb. 10, 2020. Photo: Xinhua
The head of the World Health Organization has warned that “the worst is yet ahead of us” in the coronavirus outbreak. The warning came as many in the US and Europe are eager to go back to work amid the outbreak.
The prospect of an outbreak remains uncertain. The restless sentiment in the West has been exploited and manipulated by some politicians. This is particularly the case in the US, with President Donald Trump publicly supporting mass protests against social distancing. Pre-mature resumption of work may trigger the coronavirus situation in the West to rebound and drag down global achievements in fighting the virus and plunge countries like China and South Korea into more risks.
Pandemic prevention will become a protracted war. The Chinese people need to be prepared for a whole-year or even longer struggle with the virus. We must be clear that patience and endurance are key during the process and we need to enhance our abilities.
The first is to systemize the disease prevention and control mechanism. It should be improved continuously so that it can dilute the impact of imported cases and a domestic rebound. It should be enhanced so that it can detect and trace the infection chain of newly added cases and reduce the impact on people’s lives. In other words, the mechanism would maximize its effect in disease control and prevention and minimize social pains.
Second, we must make visible achievements in resumption of work and production. The slogan of work resumption in the US is simply out of impulse, while China has prioritized work and virus control at the same time. We must ensure the production resumption rate in China is the highest in the world.
China must be able to promote the country’s comprehensive development and advance reforms and adjustments while putting the epidemic in check. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the deficiencies of various countries. For instance, coordination between the US federal government and state governments is in a mess and the US lacks a unified strategy.
China has done a good job fighting the virus. But some in the US and Western countries have thrown mud at China’s efforts. How to respond to the smears is a test for China. There were some deficiencies in China’s initial response to the epidemic and Chinese public sentiment is fragile. This shows that the urban middle class that have been quickly rising in recent years still have some confusion to sort out. The national management system needs to keep pace with the times and be able to unite society.
China must have the ability to deal with big international uncertainties. Strategists widely believe that the COVID-19 pandemic will very likely undermine the foundations of global governance and stability or even lead to geopolitical turbulence. China should make sober judgments, respond calmly to and make early preparations for changes.
China has respected science and acted based on facts over the past few months. The virus has so far impacted Western society the most, but the US hasn’t truly reflected on it. US politicians have acted in a bigoted and opportunistic manner.
Capabilities matter most in the future. To ensure a rebound of the epidemic won’t occur, China should also try its best to resolve the problems exposed in the virus fight. For those it cannot address for the time being, it needs to minimize their negative impact. As long as we move in the right direction, we will eventually overcome the crisis.