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China to continue cooperating with Russia in fight against COVID-19, maintaining flights

China backs the Russian position that politicization of the fight against the pandemic is unacceptable, according to the top diplomat
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian AP Photo/Andy Wong
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian
© AP Photo/Andy Wong

BEIJING, April 13. /TASS/. Chinese authorities will continue to cooperate with Russia and take measures to maintain regular flights between the two countries amid the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a briefing on Monday.

"There are regular flights to Moscow from Beijing and Shanghai and we will continue to take measures to combat the coronavirus," he pointed out. The diplomat added that apart from fighting the outbreak in China, Beijing was also providing assistance to other countries, including Russia.

"We have recently sent a group of medical experts to Russia. We will combat the pandemic at home … and will also continue dispatching medical teams to help others," Zhao Lijian emphasized.

Politicization of fight against coronavirus

Chinese authorities support maintaining the leading role of the World Health Organization (WHO) and back Russia’s position that it is inadmissible to politicize the fight against coronavirus, the spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry stated Monday.

"We believe that Russia is taking an objective stance which China welcomes. We have also repeatedly said that the international community should stand together, overcome disagreements and jointly tackle this challenge in the face of the threat of the virus spread," he told a regular briefing in a comment on the US criticism of the WHO and on the position of Russia who condemns attempts of certain states to shift responsibility for their own difficult epidemiological situation onto other states. "We should avoid politicizing of countering the pandemic, stop accusing others of our difficulties and incite differences."

According to the diplomat, WHO played a vital role in fighting the coronavirus spread in the world. "The international community should join forces and deal a blow to the common enemy — the novel coronavirus. We are ready to cooperate with other states, including Russia, and support WHO’s constructive and leading role in fighting the pandemic," he said.

Coronavirus pandemic

In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 by the WHO — have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 1,800,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 114,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 428,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.

To date, a total of 18,328 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 1,470 patients having recovered from the virus. Russia’s latest data indicates 148 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.