The Southern African Development Community (SADC) presented a letter of solidarity with the People and the Government of the People's Republic of China, following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in December 2019. The letter was presented to His Excellency Dr. Zhao Yanbo, the Chinese Ambassador to Botswana, by Mr. Jorge Cardoso, the Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs at the SADC Secretariat on Monday, 10th February 2020, on behalf of Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, the SADC Executive Secretary.
The letter of solidarity expressed compassion to the families of those who lost their lives to the disease, and extended the goodwill to those who are still afflicted with this infirmity, as well as the people who are providing the care and support. It commended the Chinese Government for the swift measures taken to contain the virus, and the continued efforts at the frontline of detecting, managing and preventing the spread of the virus.
In his remarks, His Excellency Ambassador Dr. Yanbo highlighted that to date, more than 38,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in China. He added that according to the latest figures, as of 9th February 2020, 97 people had died, of which 91 in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. However, he indicated that current statistics on the new cases is on the decline, showing an encouraging positive sign that the outbreak is on the verge of containment.
His Excellency Dr. Yanbo, said in the endeavor to mitigate and prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Chinese Government has demonstrated extensive capacity in her public health sector, having learnt significantly from past experiences on the outbreaks, such as H1N1 and SARS pandemics in 2003, which were some of the worst health crises in recent Chinese history. Consequently, the Chinese Government has developed resilient public health system to contain the disease. He stressed that over 9,000 health professionals have been deployed in Hubei province to help contain and manage the pandemic.
Ambassador Dr. Yanbo expressed his gratitude to the international community, including SADC Member States and the African Union, for the support and solidarity given to his country following the outbreak of the scourge.