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Coronavirus not on UNSC March agenda, says China's UN envoy

Coronavirus death toll in China: As many as 2,912 people have died of the novel coronavirus

twitter-logoPTI | March 3, 2020 | Updated 10:51 IST
Coronavirus not on UNSC March agenda, says China's UN envoy
Zhang said China has not "distinguished" citizens of other countries from the Chinese and is treating all people on "an equal footing"

China's UN Ambassador has said there is no need to panic over the coronavirus epidemic and that Beijing does not plan to discuss the situation in the Security Council during its Presidency this month.China assumed the Presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of March and Beijing's UN envoy Zhang Jun told reporters Monday that there was no plan to have a "specific discussion" on COVID-19.

"With regard to the Security Council, at this moment, is the general feeling of member states, while we watch closely the situation, especially the new development, we do not need to go panicky about that epidemic," Zhang said during a press conference on the occasion of China assuming Presidency of the Council.

According to the Chinese health officials on Monday, as many as 2,912 people have died of the novel coronavirus in the country. Responding to a question on whether China plans to discuss the coronavirus emergency in the Security Council during its presidency of the 15-nation Council, Zhang said the issue of the coronavirus falls within the concept of global public health while the Security Council's primary responsibility is dealing with the geo-political security and peace matters.

"So, the public health security issue is not in the scope of the mandate of the Security Council in a narrow concept. But what we do think is important, is that the Security Council will also watch the situation very closely. At this moment, we do not have any plan to have a specific discussion on this issue," Zhang said. He said China's fight against the coronavirus is making huge progress and the situation is becoming stable and getting better.

"Faced with such a severe challenge, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping we have taken unprecedented efforts and measures," which have been most comprehensive and strict. He added that while China is working very hard in combating the virus, the country has adopted a very responsible and constructive approach in its cooperation with other countries.

"We know that (in) other countries, we do have some new development. We do hope that what we are doing in China or what we have done in China will be able to help other countries," he said. Zhang said he would hope that the whole world would be immune from the fast-spreading virus.

"We see progress and new development in China in continuing the spreading of that virus. And meanwhile we also see some new development in other parts of the world, including in this country," he said adding that while countries may adopt different approaches, Beijing will be ready to share information and "good experiences" with other countries to help them deal with the epidemic.

"We definitely believe that with the coming of spring, we are not far from the coming of the victory, of the final defeat of COVID-19," he said. China is also focussed on revitalising its economy since the coronavirus has caused a negative impact on the Chinese economy, the envoy said.

"Because of the strong resilience, enormous domestic consumption and the domestic market and because of the solid foundation of the Chinese economy, we are very much confident" that Beijing will be able to do realise its economic and social goals, he said.

"We do have confidence about the future of the Chinese economy. We know that it is our responsibility because of China's important role in the global value chain and supply chain. We hope that the restoration of the economic and social order and productivity capability of the Chinese economy will also be able to help other countries to inject a new strength in their efforts in coping with the virus and the epidemic," the envoy said.

On whether China is planning to restrict travel from "hot spot" countries like Italy, South Korea or Iran that have seen coronavirus outbreaks to prevent transmission of cases into China, Zhang said while China still needs to do whatever it can in preventing and controlling the spread of the virus. "But I can assure you that China does not adopt a discriminative or a double-standard approach or policy towards any other country. We are very much supportive to the efforts made by other countries like... Italy, Korea. We do have received a lot of assistance from those countries and we are also doing whatever we can help in those countries," he said.

He said China has not "distinguished" citizens of other countries from the Chinese and is treating all people on "an equal footing". "We hope that by doing so, we are not causing problems. We are really making our further contribution in the control of this epidemic," he added.

Also read: Coronavirus impact: Asian factories bear the brunt of shutdown in China

Also read: Enough masks, equipment available to fight coronavirus menace, Health Minister tells GoM

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