H. E. Ambassador Sun Weidong holds the Press Conference on the Prevention and Control of the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Epidemic

On February 18, 2020, H.E. Ambassador Sun Weidong held the press conference on the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic at the embassy. Ambassador Sun delivered remarks on the great efforts China has made in fighting against the epidemic and the international cooperation at this critical time. Around 50 journalists and photographers from 30 Indian and Chinese media were present.

The transcript of the Q&A Session is as follows:

1. Embassynews TV: Is there a possibility the virus was released by accident from the Wuhan Institute of Virology laboratory but not the seafood market? How do you see the stigma related to the coronavirus?

Ambassador Sun Weidong: About the virus itself, we still don't have enough knowledge. Scientists are doing their best to know more about this novel virus. Based on the analysis of genomic sequence, what we could know now is that this virus originates from nature, not man-made.

The virus is terrible, but rumor is more terrible. It will create panic and overreaction, and harm people-to-people relations. We must ensure the truth outweigh the rumors, the science prevail over ignorance.

Stigma and discrimination come from panic, lack of understanding and empathy. Only through mutual understanding and cooperation, can we truly overcome the epidemic. We hope that the international community can view the epidemic in a rational and calm way.

2. ABP News TV: Did China receive any request from the Government of India to carry further air evacuation from China?

Ambassador Sun Weidong: We provided necessary assistance and convenience to the Indian citizens in Hubei to get back to India. Prime Minister Modi expressed his appreciation for China's support in his letter to President Xi Jinping.

We attach great importance to the health and safety of foreign nationals in China, and will take good care of the Indian citizens in China like our own. I did learn about the situation of Indian students in Hubei Province before this briefing. They are taken good care of with good health, sufficient daily necessities, accommodation and food. So far there's no report of infection for the Indian citizens in China.

China is now at the critical stage for epidemic prevention and control. We will carefully assess the situation, as prevention work requires, and is willing to stay in close communication with India on this issue.

3. UNI: How do you see the travel and trade restrictions taken by the Indian government? We have learned that some Chinese supplies have been detained by the Indian side. What is your comment? How can China and India conduct effective cooperation in response to this epidemic? It is learnt that Government of India is offering the supply of medical equipment to China in order to cure the epidemic. What type of medical assistance does China require from India?

Ambassador Sun Weidong: The WHO has repeatedly not recommended even opposed any travel and trade restrictions.We should follow the WHO's professional advice. Countries around the world need to maintain normal flows of people and trade, and refrain from overreaction.

We understand that some countries take reasonable and necessary measures like thermal screening at ports of entry. In fact, most of countries have not overreacted to the outbreak, and even some countries began to adjust strict measures exceeding the WHO's recommendation.

We are grateful that Prime Minister Modi sent a letter to President Xi Jinping and assured readiness to stand by China and provide the assistance that India can to face this challenge. These acts of goodwill fully demonstrate the Indian people's friendship with the Chinese people.

In the epicenter of Hubei Province and Wuhan City, there are large consumption of medical materials, causing shortage of some specific personal protection materials.

We hope the Indian side could review the epidemic situation in an objective, rational and calm manner, implement the two leaders' instructions, handle with China's much-needed items in a humanitarian spirit, and resume normal personnel exchanges and trade between our two countries.

4. Times of India: There are lots of concerns on supplies of consumer electronics, smart phones, pharmaceuticals imported from China here in India. What sort of impact does the epidemic have on global economy? How long will China restore the supply chains?

Ambassador Sun Weidong: In the short term, the downward pressure on China's economy will increase, which will have some impact on global economy. But in the long run, while the epidemic is contained, China's economy is back on track, its impact on global economy should be gradually mitigated.

Currently, China is fighting against the epidemic on the one hand, resuming the production on the other hand. As I have just mentioned, Chinese government is taking various measures to restore and resume production and operation of enterprises. The supplies will gradually return to normal. The problems you are concerned will also be gradually solved.

In this battle against the epidemic, we hope the other countries can support China. The earlier we win this battle, the earlier the supply chain will be resumed. The international community should work together and resume normal personnel and trade exchanges.Only in this way can we provide strong support for the stable growth of the world economy.

5. Xinhua News Agency: 2020 is special year for China-India relations.What sort of impact it will have on scheduled bilateral engagements this year?Do you think it will impact 70 events planned for the 70th anniversary celebrations?

Ambassador Sun Weidong: Yes indeed. This year marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties and the "Year of China-India Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges". I think the difficulties are temporary and will be overcome. I believe bilateral exchanges will not be blocked by the virus and China-India relations not be affected by the epidemic.

We need to implement the important consensus reached by the two leaders during the second informal summit in Chennai. We need to maintain high-level exchanges, hold institutional meetings and a series of celebratory activities, expand personnel exchanges and trade, and scale the bilateral relations to a new height.


China and India are the world's only two countries with more than one billion population. We are facing similar challenges in public health. And there's huge potential for cooperation. We are ready to explore opportunities with India for the cooperation in areas of public health and science. This is in the common interests of our two peoples.

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