BEIJING, April 15. /TASS/. China appreciates the statement put forward by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov outlining the inadmissible nature of demands addressed to the Chinese side to compensate losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian told a briefing on Wednesday, commenting on the remarks of the Russian foreign minister.
"We are highly appreciative of the words of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic, Russia offered us political support and material assistance," the diplomat said.
"Russia is now at a critical stage [of the fight against coronavirus], China <…> is putting significant effort to provide help and support to the Russian side, demonstrating our historic friendship. Of course, we are paying attention to certain ‘noise' — some media outlets and people distort facts and spread rumors about China and Russia. Being partners, China and Russia will overcome all difficulties they are facing shoulder to shoulder," the spokesperson underlined.
On April 14, Lavrov had an online video interview for representatives of Russian and foreign media outlets and said that the demands coming from the West that China is to compensate for the losses endured due to the coronavirus pandemic are unacceptable.
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 2,000,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 126,800 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 485,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
To date, a total of 24,490 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 1,986 patients having recovered from the virus. Russia’s latest data indicates 198 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.