'Unnecessary' to evacuate foreigners from China: WHO
Published: Jan 28, 2020 05:43 PM

Photo: Xinhua


The Head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said he is confident in China's capacity to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak, and plans by some countries to repatriate their citizens are unnecessary. 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said on Tuesday in Beijing that the organization and the international community highly appreciate the decisive measures that have been taken by the Chinese government, and thanked the Chinese side for its huge efforts in curtailing the spreading of the virus, according to the Xinhua News Agency. 

The WHO noted that some countries are planning to evacuate their citizens from China, saying there is no need to overact and the WHO is fully confident that the Chinese government can bring the spread of the disease under control, the Xinhua report said. 

Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi told Ghebreyesus at their meeting on Tuesday that China appreciates WHO's objective and fair response to China's measures in fighting the infectious disease. China is willing to enhance cooperation with the international community in an open and transparent manner, said Wang. 

Xia Guohan, a Beijing-based research fellow with the Chinese think tank Grandview Institution, said that although foreign countries are free to evacuate their citizens, it is not a wise move and could have unforeseen consequences.

"If foreign governments decide to evacuate their nationals, it shows that they lack confidence in the Chinese government's fight against the coronavirus. But since the 2003 battle against SARS, all levels of government have ability to handle the spread of an infectious diseases," Xia told the Global Times Tuesday.

Xia also said that the evacuation may cause public opinion in foreign countries to exaggerate the problem.

Xia suggested that foreign governments, especially France, enhance communication with Wuhan, considering that half of all French companies in China are based in Wuhan. The US and Japan should consider international humanitarian assistance, rather than incurring the expense of evacuating a few hundred people.

On Tuesday, Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ma Zhaoxu held a briefing on the epidemic with foreign embassy representatives. Ma emphasized that in the face of the severe and complicated epidemic, the Chinese government has adopted strong and difficult measures, which no other country could do, and will implement them more resolutely and forcefully, according to a statement on the official website of the ministry. 

Considered the strong scientific and technological material foundation accumulated by the People's Republic of China over 70 years, the Chinese government has the determination, confidence, and ability to win the battle against epidemic prevention and control, Ma said.