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Beijing Initiative calls for joint combat against COVID-19

Source: Updated: 2020-09-08

An initiative was proposed by China's health departments and international health organizations on Sunday in Beijing for fighting against global disease threats with shared anti-epidemic experience and practices.

"The coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19 has been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the most severe public health emergency the organization has ever faced. The pandemic has posed tremendous risks to human health and safety as well as to the world economy, proving to be a serious challenge to the global public health governance system and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," the Beijing Initiative stated.

The initiative was jointly proposed by the Beijing Municipal Health Commission, the International Health Exchange and Cooperation Center of China's National Health Commission, the WHO Representative Office in China, the UNAIDS Representative Office in China, the United Nations Population Fund Representative Office in China and the Serbian Embassy in China.

"We call on all parties concerned to jointly fight against global disease threats by sharing your experience and practices in epidemic prevention and control on the principles of openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and respect, mutual benefits for a win-win situation, and equality and transparency," the initiative appealed. 

It continued, "We call on all parties concerned to cement win-win partnerships through consultation, innovation and cooperation. Let us jointly overcome current difficulties for safeguarding global public health and achieving common prosperity."

The initiative reaffirmed that "it is our shared responsibility to promote peace, mutual aid and cooperation; it is our common goal to improve human health and build a bridge for global cooperation on public health; and it is our collective aspiration to build a global community of health for all."

According to the Beijing Initiative, health is the core of and the prerequisite for human development. "In face of a serious global threat to human health, no country is immune. Worldwide cooperation on public health is vital for maintaining the world order and boosting the global economy," the Beijing Initiative stressed.

The Beijing Initiative was issued while many health representatives and experts were attending the Beijing International Conference for Public Health Cooperation during the ongoing 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing.

During the conference, the WHO Representative in China Dr. Gauden Galea hailed China's efforts and experience in containing the COVID-19 outbreak.

Chinese researchers publicly shared the gene sequence of the novel coronavirus at a very early stage, and contributed many key scientific insights in published papers related to COVID-19, he said. These efforts offered essential preliminary knowledge of the epidemic and information about clinical features and containment measures, he added.

Speaking of global engagement, he pointed out that China is now one of the leaders in the rapid progress of vaccine research internationally. "There is not one country alone that can handle the epidemic," Dr. Galea said, calling for more cooperation, global communication and building solidarity in the fight against the epidemic. He also highlighted the importance of removing health system barriers.

Besides Dr. Galea, Xu Jianguo, an academic of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Liu Qingquan, head of the Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, affiliated with Capital Medical University, Itamar Grotto, deputy director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Health, Liu Duo, head of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, and other domestic and foreign experts and scholars also shared their experiences, observations, thoughts, insights and visions on the global combat against the pandemic.