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Global war against novel coronavirus call for all countries to close ranks: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2020-02-27 19:58
A pharmacist at "Farmacia Bandi" creates a homemade hand sanitiser, as the pharmacy tries to cope with a growing demand from people trying to avoid contracting coronavirus, in Milan, Italy, February 26, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

On Wednesday, the number of people newly infected with the novel coronavirus outside of China (459) exceeded the number in China (412) for the first time since the outbreak of the virus, and except for Antarctica, the virus has now spread to all continents.

As such, although the World Health Organization has not yet declared it to be a global pandemic, the window of opportunity to control the spread of the virus, which has been hard earned by China at great cost, is closing quickly.

The improving situation in China shows that quick and decisive measures taken by the authorities to reduce population mobility and concentrate medical resources in the hardest-hit region at an early date can make a big difference. It is obvious that some countries that have watched China's efforts with folded arms are now looking at its taillights and the time it will take them to catch up with it in the race to contain the virus will come at the cost of lives lost and economic losses.

True, some affected countries and regions have not seen new cases for days, and China has arguably passed the most difficult part of its "people's war", but that is not yet cause for celebration. The global situation needs to be analyzed as a whole, not viewed on the basis of the statistics for individual countries.

But as well as the improving situation in China, there are two other things that offer hope that a devastating global pandemic can be avoided. Namely that the novel coronavirus has not spread to some of the least developed countries and that it appears not to have mutated, which would make the challenge of defeating it even greater.

But if a full-scale pandemic is to be prevented, countries must fulfill their obligation to keep the WHO informed of their situations. The world cannot afford countries to drag their feet in revealing their true pictures. And those countries that have done a good job in containing the virus within their borders should take the initiative to extend a helping hand to others. It is essential that all countries appreciate that this is a global public health threat and a common battle.

The novel coronavirus is a public health emergency whose scope, duration and effects are still uncertain. As the global coordination mechanism remains underdeveloped, the epidemic should prompt countries to take advantage of bilateral and multilateral mechanisms to foster greater coordination and concerted efforts.

China has taken forceful measures to deal with the epidemic, the speed and strength of which have won precious time for the world to close ranks against the virus. And the Chinese practice offers successful experience for those countries now fighting the virus on their soil.

Enhanced coordination and concerted efforts are crucial for the health and well-being of all. While continuing to wage war against the outbreak in Hubei province, China will play its part and will do all it can to help others in their battles with the virus.

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