Somber COVID-19 situation a constant reminder of need for closer cooperation
BEIJING -- The still fast-growing daily global COVID-19 caseload is a constant reminder to the world that countries need to persist in more balanced, scientific and cooperative actions to stamp out the virus and tide over the unprecedented crisis.
Since the deadly disease broke out over eight months ago, countries around the globe have been supporting each other by actively sharing information and experience regarding controlling the disease and various treatments, and providing much-needed medical supplies to countries hit hard by the virus.
The international community, with the coordination from the World Health Organization (WHO), has witnessed progress in its collective search for vaccines. A consensus that these live-saving tools should be delivered equitably, instead of being used as a commodity for profit, has also taken shape globally. Meanwhile, scientists worldwide are jointly working to trace the origin of the pathogen.
However, the global pandemic fight has a long way to go as the number of daily infections remains tragically high. India has set a one-day infections record with over 90,000 cases, bringing its total tally to over 4.2 million, second worldwide only to the United States.
In Europe, countries including France, Spain and Britain have started to grapple with a resurgence following further easing of social distancing restrictions and the reopening of businesses and schools.
In the United States, epidemiologists like Dr. Anthony Fauci have warned of "a repeat of the surge" following the Labor Day national holiday and the beginning of autumn.
Against this backdrop, the only right choice for the international community at such a challenging time is to stick to solidarity and continuously advance cooperation. No one can survive alone in an increasingly connected world.
The top priority for decision-makers and ordinary citizens worldwide is not to let down their guard regarding the pandemic as they are trying to reopen their countries and return to normalcy. Countries that have passed the peak of the pandemic must remain highly vigilant for any signs of a possible rebound and try to strike a balance between disease control and economic recovery.
When countries start to gradually open their borders and expand the movement of people and commercial goods, they need to collaborate as closely as possible to lower cross-border transmissions of the virus to a minimum. That means faster identifying and tracking of chains of transmissions in cross-border travel and trade, more effective communication between relevant government bodies, as well as stronger inspection and quarantine measures at airports and seaports.
Tackling the pandemic also requires closer and stronger international joint action to expedite the development, production and distribution of quality and affordable vaccines, the best possible route to contain the virus. Timely information sharing, academic exchanges and scientific and innovative cooperation in this field should be encouraged and promoted, while vaccine nationalism must be rejected.
Meanwhile, the world needs to pay particular attention to the plight of developing countries and their more vulnerable groups including women, children, the aged and the disabled, and step up anti-pandemic assistance.
To help those hit hard, China has launched the most intensive and wide-ranging emergency humanitarian assistance program since the founding of the People's Republic of China. Also, Beijing is working with 11 countries on phase-three clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines. When available, as China has pledged, vaccines will be shared with other countries as a global public good.
What the world has experienced during the past eight months is a practical lesson demonstrating the necessity and significance of enhancing multilateral cooperation. Countries across the world must set aside their differences and work together to beat the pathogen, keep global industrial chains running well and spur a global economic recovery.
During a meeting held on Tuesday to celebrate the role models in the country's anti-virus fight, Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to continue to support the WHO, advance economic globalization, steadfastly uphold the multilateral trading system, and join other countries in restoring global economic prosperity at an early date.
The raging pandemic is a chance for the world to address the deficit in global public health governance and improve preparedness for future pandemics. For the common health and shared future of all human beings, countries around the world have no choice but to stand together like never before.