French President Emmanuel Macron is seen on a television screen as he speaks during a televised address to the nation on the outbreak of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus on Monday in Paris. Photo: AFP
The world is fighting the COVID-19 at any cost. French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday that the country is fighting the “invisible” enemy. He said that the French people should stay at home and about 100,000 police will be deployed to enforce the lockdown, and those who do not respect the new restrictions will be fined. Spain had previously banned all citizens from leaving their houses without special reasons. The statements of Macron, who took his wife to the theater just two weeks ago, marked a major change in European politicians’ attitude toward the virus.
Blocking the spread of the virus in communities is key to the battle against the COVID-19. The Europeans and the Americans advocate freedom and they like all kinds of social activities. They feel more uncomfortable than Eastern society if they are required to stay at home for four weeks or even longer. But without this step, it may be impossible to curb the epidemic.
China’s anti-epidemic approaches were widely questioned and criticized by some Westerners, but recently there have been more praises of China’s experience in France and the rest of Europe. Some people have started to use China’s success gained in a short period of time to encourage themselves, and to refute those who advocate that fighting the epidemic is useless. Although those people still have political differences with China, acknowledging China’s successful experience has gradually become part of their attitude to fight the COVID-19.
China’s experience is to keep a pragmatic attitude based on epidemiological rules. Compared to other countries with severe outbreaks, China has apparently achieved the control of the outbreak in less time and at a lower cost. China was forced to lock down cities and communities, but it turned out the sooner the better.
From European countries’ latest measures, we can say that more and more EU countries have formed such a consensus.
It is laudable that Macron rapidly adjusted his policy and walked to the forefront of Europe’s fight against the virus. France should play a leadership role in the EU.
Europe still faces multiple problems in this fight. First, different countries have implemented different policies. Although they have enhanced preventive measures, their reactions differ and their will to implement the measures is also different.
Second, some countries did not send all infected people to hospitals for quarantine and treatment, but encouraged them to stay at home for self-healing. This is the biggest risk of community transmission. The turnaround of the situation in Wuhan resulted from sending each and every infected patient to hospital and ensuring they got medical care. The medical organizations in European countries need to expand quarantining and treating patients with lighter symptoms to accelerate the turnaround of the situation in Europe.
Third, the action of European countries is always a step slower than the spread of the virus. Obviously, they did not do enough to contain its spread with more resolute measures, which may drag the fight on rather than ending it soon.
Anyhow, Europe has been paying attention to the pandemic and is taking action. It has become a battlefield to firmly resist the virus. The Chinese people solidly stand with the European people. China saw achievements dozens of days after Wuhan’s city lockdown. The situation changed as we passed each incubation period. We believe Europe, with its rich experience and abundant resources, will eventually defeat the virus and retain everything the Europeans cherish.