28 MAR 2020
China says it is willing to contribute to international cooperation in combating the COVID-19 pandemic via the construction of a Health Silk Road.
State media agency Xinhua states that Chinese President Xi Jinping made the offer, along with an offer of help for Italy, during a phone call with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on March 16.
When COVID-19 cases escalated in China, Italy donated preventative and protective equipment to China. Now, the Chinese government is providing supplies to Italy, along with medical experts.
The Xinhua article states that the joint construction of a Health Silk Road has expanded the space for cooperation on co-construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
“To jointly build the Health Silk Road serves as a new approach for perfecting global public health governance,” says the article. “The practice of fighting against the COVID-19 pneumonia has once again proved that isolation does nothing good, and it’s impossible for any country to fight the virus alone. To win the battle, countries must uphold solidarity and cooperation, be future-oriented, and improve global health governance…
“The global consequences of the COVID-19 pneumonia are far-reaching. While facing the challenges, people also need to focus on the current problems and think about the future of global health.”
Xi first floated the idea of a Health Silk Road to the World Health Organization (WHO) several years ago. China has given $20 million to the WHO for COVID-19 efforts and has offered help to 82 countries, the WHO and the African Union.
Over 570,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally, with over 26,000 deaths as of March 28.