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Xi says China is ready to help international community fight coronavirus

By JULIAN SHEA in London and CAO DESHENG in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2020-03-17 21:50
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Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, inspects the Beijing Ditan Hospital, a designated institution treating the novel coronavirus pneumonial in Beijing, Feb 10, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

China stands ready to join hands with the international community to fight against the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak in order to uphold global health security, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday.

Xi made the remarks in a telephone conversation with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. On behalf of the Chinese government and people, Xi extended his sincere sympathies to the Spanish government and people over the outbreak.

Xi said that China wants to work with the rest of the world to turn the risks posed by the outbreak into an opportunity and act with openness and cooperation to cope with the impact of the epidemic.

Thanks to the arduous efforts by the whole nation, China's measures to control the epidemic have produced positive results, he said, adding the country has gone out of the most difficult and challenging time.

Noting the outbreak has taken place in many countries in the world, Xi said China is willing to develop international cooperation on epidemic control and provide assistance within its reach.

Tuesday marked the third day that Spain has been under a state of emergency, which was declared by Sanchez late on Saturday night.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus rose to 11,178 on Tuesday, according to Spain's health ministry.

In Europe, the number of infections has surpassed 50,000 and more than 2,000 deaths were reported as of Monday.

Italy, the worst-hit nation in Europe, reported 27,980 cases as of Tuesday, with its death toll exceeding 2,000.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday widened steps already taken to fight "a sanitary war" against the pandemic, ordering border closures, air traffic suspension, and tougher restrictions on movement. The country reported 6,633 infections and 148 deaths as of Monday.

From Tuesday noon and for at least two weeks, people across French cities can move around only for work, health needs or shopping for necessities, Macron said. "France is going through a difficult time. No one can predict precisely the duration (of the epidemic)," he said.

In Russia, foreign nationals and stateless people will be denied entry from Wednesday to May 1. The ban will not apply to diplomatic representatives, among other categories of people, according to a document signed by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. The website of the Russian government showed that the country had 93 cases of the virus so far.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday called for an end to non-essential contact and travel as the country steps up its battle against the spread of the virus.

School closures are not yet planned, but where possible, Johnson said people should work from home and avoid pubs, clubs and theaters as the country enters a period of fast growth in infections. As of Monday, the UK has reported 1,543 cases of infection, with 53 deaths.

Ren Qiin Moscow, Xinhua and agencies contributed to this story.

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