The Chinese ambassador in Nicosia says Cyprus has recently taken “powerful and appropriate” measures in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, adding that help from China is on the way.
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Ambassador of China to Cyprus Xingyuan Huang took to Twitter on Friday, saying finalized transportation arrangements for the first batch of medical supplies from China to the island were underway, including respirator masks and protective wear.
Huang praised Nicosia for setting the right priorities in a set of measures designed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease
Previous reports in Greek Cypriot media said supplies including 10,000 special face masks were expected to be delivered on the island by a Greek C-130 military aircraft, but officials later said those plans had fallen through.
According to local media, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades received assurances from Aegean airlines and Hellenic Petroleum that they were ready to take up the cost of transporting some of the medical supplies to Cyprus directly from China.
Huang praised Nicosia for setting the right priorities in a set of measures designed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease. He told the Cyprus News Agency it was “absolutely correct for Cyprus to set the prevention of imported cases and reduction of fatalities as its priority.”
The ambassador also told CNA that health and safety were the main priority in China, adding that “herd immunity is not an option for us.”
Huang described COVID-19 as a “public enemy” and said China was calling for global unity against the coronavirus.
“Narrow mindsets and politicizing the pandemic should be abandoned. China and United States need to partner as the world needs unity,” the ambassador wrote on Twitter.
US Ambassador to Cyprus criticizes China
But US Ambassador to Cyprus Judy Garber, who wrote an opinion criticizing Chinese authorities in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, accused a foreign ministry spokesman of the People’s Republic of China of leveling false accusations against the United States.
Garber said there was false information spread online over the coronavirus pandemic.
“When a vicious and dangerous conspiracy theory is uttered from an official government mouthpiece, however, we should take particular notice.
The US ambassador said Chinese officials “made extensive preparations to protect their own population, while only selectively sharing information.”
In late January, global experts said scientists were making their own synthetic model of the novel coronavirus, while some criticized China for sharing images but not an actual copy of the virus.
In search of a vaccine
Copies of samples were needed in research for a vaccine, with experts saying the creation of a prototype needed up to two months with an estimated trial on humans at least a year later.
The first lab to isolate and study live samples of the virus was at the epicentre of the outbreak, in Wuhan, China, when a team of experts isolated the virus from a woman who developed symptoms in late December.
The first genome sequence of the virus was made public in early January, which led to diagnostic tests as well as efforts to study the pathogen. But experts said sequences were no substitute for virus samples, which were needed to test drugs and vaccines.
“Yet by early January, Chinese authorities had already ordered virus samples destroyed,” Garber wrote.
In late January, a lab in Australia announced that it had obtained virus samples from an infected person who had returned from China.
Huang told CNA that both China and the US have put vaccines to clinical tests, adding that time and concerted efforts were needed “on a global level to heal the damage of the pandemic.”
“When exactly vaccines go to market is a professional issue of science. But I am certain of one fact. If some countries can give up narrow mindedness and selfishness and share research results with concerted efforts, we will step closer to vaccines” he said.