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Reinforcement vs enemy lands

Hananeel Bordey

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The country received yesterday a huge boost in its tough battle against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with the arrival of Chinese health experts who will share their knowledge that was pivotal in the Asian giant to be the first to tame the vicious outbreak.

“Most of team members have had front line experience in Hubei province to fight against the epidemic. I hope the arrival of this team will help the Philippines to improve its ability of epidemic prevention and control as well as diagnosis and treatment, so as to boost the confidence of the public in overcoming the COVID-19, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said.

The deployment of the Chinese team came amid the plague claiming more lives as there are now more than 1.2 million confirmed cases across the globe and around 65,000 deaths since the virus first emerged in China late last year based on a John Hopkins University tally.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States on Saturday surpassed 300,000 but Europe continued to bear the brunt of the pandemic which has left roughly half the planet confined at home at a huge cost to the global economy.

Over 45,000 of global deaths have been in Europe, with Britain reporting a new daily high in fatalities, taking the overall toll to 4,300 out of nearly 42,000 cases.

Support always strong

Huang said the Chinese government has dispatched the Anti-epidemic Medical Expert Team to assist the Philippines in its fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Philippines in early March, China has been providing support and assistance to the Philippines to the best of its ability,” Huang added.

The Chinese government has earlier provided the Philippines with a batch of emergency medical supplies such as testing kits, surgical masks, medical N95 masks and medical protective suits.

“Besides the Chinese central government, Chinese local governments, organizations, companies and individuals have also extended a helping hand with huge amount of donations to the Philippine government and people,” according to Huang.

Huang said the Chinese medical team was among the first three teams sent by the Chinese government to ASEAN countries.

“Virus respects no borders. We always say that a friend in need is a friend indeed. During the time of crisis, the Chinese government and people feel keenly for the health and safety of the Filipino people,” according to the Chinese envoy.

“We will always stand together with the Philippine government and people to cope with the challenges and overcome the epidemic,” he added.

Grand welcome

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar and Lucio Tan Group president Michael Tan welcomed the Chinese doctors and officials.

“Appreciation and gratitude for a neighbor’s support to our country’s fight against the pandemic. Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. welcomed today at NAIA the 10 medical experts and 2 officials from China to share technical advice on the prevention & control of COVID-19 in the country,” the DFA said.

Locsin also received new donations from China which include non-invasive ventilators, personal protective equipment, suits and masks to protect the health workers from the COVID-19 virus.

Locsin, in a separate tweet, said that these Chinese doctors who have first-hand experience in handling the virus will share their strategies on fighting and containing COVID-19.

Tide turning in Italy?

Globally not all developments were gloomy as there was some encouraging news from Europe over the weekend.

Worst-hit Italy cheered after seeing its number of intensive care virus cases drop for the first time — from 4,068 on Friday to 3,994 on Saturday.

Even some of the most cautious Italian health officials seized on the figures as evidence that the tide may be turning in the deadliest disaster the country has faced since World War II.

“This is a very important data point,” said civil protection service chief Angelo Borrelli, adding that it “allows our hospitals to breathe.”

The daily rise in new infections across Italy has also slowed. It reported 681 new deaths on Saturday, down from a peak of almost 1,000 just over a week ago.

Spain, which is under a near-total lockdown, saw a second successive daily fall in coronavirus-related deaths with 809 fatalities.

The total number of deaths in Spain now stands at 11,947, second only to Italy.

Although the number of new cases also slowed, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced an extension of the country’s lockdown until 25 April.

With reports from Agence France Presse

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