UK in close contact with China to tackle global challenges of COVID-19: UK ambassador to China

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/14 17:36:00

Photo: British Ambassador to China Barbara Woodward

The UK government and partner organizations have pledged over £50 million ($65 million) for research into COVID-19 with the goal of rapidly developing a workable vaccine to eradicate this emerging threat once and for all, said British Ambassador to China Barbara Woodward, noting that one of the first effective testing kits for the novel coronavirus was developed in the UK.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has written to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to say the UK stands shoulder-to-shoulder with China in the fight against COVID-19 which is now a global challenge, according to the British Embassy in China.

The UK Government has delivered two large shipments of essential medical supplies to Wuhan, including thousands of sterile gowns, face masks, surgical gloves and other vital equipment to support the Wuhan health authorities and frontline healthcare workers in combating the novel coronavirus.

"In the coming weeks, various UK institutions and organizations will remain in close touch with their Chinese partners to further explore ways our two countries can collaborate to address the global challenge of the novel coronavirus," the ambassador told the Global Times.

China and the UK have deep trade and people-to-people ties. UK firms have been quick to show their support, with many companies including Astra Zeneca, Rio Tinto and Diageo making donations to support the fight against COVID-19, Woodward said. Several NGOs have provided support in cash and kind to the health workers and people of Wuhan.  

While battling the novel coronavirus, the two countries have deepened their cooperation.

The UK remains open to flights and visitors from China. Universities are taking special measures to support the 180,000 Chinese students studying in the UK, Woodward said.

Woodward said the UK government has asked people who develop symptoms after being in China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore to self-quarantine for 14 days and contact the National Health Service for support. 

The British Embassy in Beijing and Consulates General in Guangzhou and Shanghai remain open, although they are primarily focused on responding to COVID-19, and are not currently providing a full range of services. In line with Chinese government guidance, most staff are working from home.

"We recognize the potential economic impact for the Chinese economy and more than 55,000 British companies that manufacture here or do business with China," Woodward said.

"Pathogens have no nationality; disease knows no borders; and COVID-19 is a global threat to public health," she said.

Global Times

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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