China steps up support for Djibouti, Cote d'Ivoire to fight COVID-19: official
Global Times

Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh meets with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Djibouti, capital of Djibouti in January. (Photo: Xinhua)

China is stepping up support for Djibouti and Cote d'Ivoire to fight the COVID-19 pandemic by sending medical experts, supplies and Chinese traditional medicines, in a move that will further boost China-Africa relations, Chinese officials and experts said on Sunday.

"We have sent 12 experts with frontline experience from municipal, public, nursing and respiratory fields to Djibouti this time, as well as anti-pandemic materials, including protective equipment, masks and traditional Chinese medicine," Peng Bowen, director of the international cooperation department of the Sichuan Province Health Commission, told the Global Times on Sunday.

After arriving in Djibouti on Thursday, the medical team has been working under the guidance of the Chinese Embassy in Djibouti, cooperating with local Chinese nationals, Chinese enterprises and medical institutions, sharing anti-epidemic experience and medical and health knowledge, and providing psychological guidance to local Chinese students, Peng said.

That is part of China's latest support to Djibouti and Cote d'Ivoire. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying announced on Friday that the medical teams consisted of experts selected by the Sichuan Provincial Health Commission and Tianjin Municipal Health Commission respectively.

The Chinese Embassy in Cote d'Ivoire reported on its website that Chinese anti-pandemic medical experts held two training lectures on epidemic prevention and control at the embassy with attendees, including representatives of Chinese enterprises, overseas Chinese and the Confucius Institutes in the African country.

China has always played its due role of a major responsible country and China's steadfast and down-to-earth approach is the normal way in supporting China-Africa relations, Shen Yi, an associate professor of international politics at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"China's aid came at a crucial time, and its purpose is simple: Protect local people's lives from the deadly disease," said Shen.

Africa has witnessed a rapid surge in the number of COVID-19 infections. As of Sunday, there were more than 42,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus with over 1,700 deaths across the continent, data showed. Cote d'Ivoire reported more than 1,360 coronavirus infections, while Djibouti had over 1,100, according to a tally by US-based Johns Hopkins University as of Sunday.

Observers warned that the continent might face a humanitarian crisis due to the fragile healthcare systems of the many nations there.

China takes "a community with a shared future for mankind" approach as its purpose, helping local people's livelihoods, health and safety in a transparent and responsible manner, and providing assistance within its ability based on local needs to jointly fight against COVID-19, Shen noted.

China has already been supporting African countries over health care issues. China has sent about 22,000 medical workers in total to Africa during the past decades, and assisted about 220 million local patients in total, according to the Chinese Ambassador to Togo Chao Weidong, Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.