China’s ambassador to Barbados has cautioned against “over reaction”, “excessive measures” and “unnecessary travel restrictions” being imposed on travellers leaving the Asian country on route to other parts of the world.
Amid growing global concern about the Coronavirus epidemic, His Excellency Yan Xiusheng has urged countries to respond in a “fair, calm and rationale manner”, consistent with suggestions from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In an exclusive Barbados TODAY interview the ambassador declined to comment on aggressive measures taken by some other Caribbean countries as he praised the Barbadian Government’s “appropriate” response.
“Fear is more horrible and infectious than the virus itself. Faced with a public health issue, the international community should work together to overcome difficulties instead of just watching the fire burn from across the river or making things worse for those experiencing difficulties. This is in the interest of the people of the world,” Xiusheng declared at the Rockley, Christ Church embassy.
He told Barbados TODAY: “We understand and respect appropriate responses such as screening and quarantine measures on travellers from China. At the same time, some other countries have overreacted with excessive measures, which are clearly not in accordance with WHO recommendations. We hope that all countries can assess the epidemic situation in an objective, fair, calm and rational manner.”
He was responding to questions about Government’s decision not to adopt travel restrictions, but to strengthened screening and quarantine procedures at all major ports of entry.
Minister of Health and Wellness Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic made the decision while six Caribbean Community [CARICOM] countries banned travellers from China following meetings with regional health ministers earlier this week.
“We have noticed that the Government of Barbados’ decision is evidence-based and has taken WHO recommendations into account…We appreciate the Government and people of Barbados’ support for the Chinese Government and people’s fight against the epidemic,” the Ambassador said.
Xiusheng however acknowledged the existence of “rumours and lies” misleading members of the public and causing unnecessary panic. As a result, he expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Health and Wellness for continuing to clarify “fake news” in a timely manner.
“We believe that if all of us turn down rumours and believe in signs, there will be no ground for rumours. The Chinese community in Barbados will continue to live in harmony with our Bajan friends and make their contribution to the social and economic development of the people of this country,” the ambassador promised.
He said the possibility of Chinese citizens being victimised is not a concern as Chinese businesses continue to perform “very well” in Barbados and the region.
Two hundred and sixty confirmed cases of the Coronavirus were identified outside China, which accounts for less than 1 per cent of all cases and is responsible for one death according to the WHO’s February 7 update.
In response, China’s ambassador described the relatively low spread of the disease internationally as a testament to the “effective” policies taken by China.
According to Mr. Xiusheng, the country’s response has far exceeded the WHO’s standard. He further contended that of the 19 million diagnosed this year, the flu has recorded a much higher percentage of fatalities, which currently stands at 10,000.
Meanwhile, the ambassador declared the enhancement of international cooperation and transparency a priority of the Chinese Government as the country works closely with international experts on a vaccine.