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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2020: PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO - As all-out efforts to combat the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continue, the unprecedented and stringent measures that have been undertaken by China are bearing fruit. As of 11 February, a total of 4, 4740 persons have recovered and been discharged and 2,015 new cases have been reported, which marks the second day of declining numbers.

Controlling the epidemic has been the top priority of the Chinese government and President Xi Jinping has underscored that the life, security and health of people are prioritised over anything else. The Chinese government will continue to safeguard the health and well-being of foreign nationals just as much as its own citizens.

To this end, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has worked hard to ensure open communications and timely updates with foreign missions in China and with relevant countries. The MFA operates a dedicated hotline that has been set up specifically to facilitate communication with diplomatic missions. More than 800 calls have been received through the hotline which plays a productive part in facilitating the work of foreign missions.

In addition, the MFA's English website has a dedicated section that provides updated information and official announcements on COVID-19 and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines for public prevention actions is available online in six different languages.

At the epicentre of the outbreak, a 24-hr hotline has been set up in Hubei for foreign nationals, tourists and students and the regional government provides frequent updates on the outbreak and preventative measures in multiple languages through its website and official social media account. Other provinces and municipalities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Xinjiang have also increased information sharing and services to foreign nationals through briefings for foreign consulates and sending of open letters. 

Of the nineteen foreign patients that were confirmed with cases of COVID-19 on 4 February, two have been cured and the remaining are in stable conditions. A great deal of attention is paid to the treatment of foreign national patients, such as respecting individual's religions beliefs and dietary habits.

For foreign nationals currently traveling or residing in China, the safest course of action is to stay put and to engage in effective self-protection. The World Health Organization's Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has cautioned against rash movements and evacuation travel as such actions can unintentionally cause spread of the virus, as has been reported. While China will respect and assist in repatriation efforts, it is strongly suggested that countries will respect and follow the recommendations of the WHO and adopt a scientific approach when evaluating actions.

In the spirit of friendship and mutual trust, the Embassy of the People's Republic of China iterates its commitment to working steadfastly with Trinidad and Tobago's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure that the health and safety of citizens from and in both countries are prioritised.

China recognises that fighting the outbreak is just as much for the sake of the health of the its own people as well as that of the international community. In order to protect global public health, unity and cooperation is essential. Through patience, compassion and continued concerted efforts, victory over the coronavirus outbreak will be assured.


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