Coronavirus fallout: Hope India reviews travel curbs, resumes normal trade, says China

Shubhajit Roy

On reports that the virus spread from a laboratory in Wuhan, Weidong said that the virus originated from nature and was “not man-made”.

Urging countries to “refrain from overreaction”, Chinese ambassador to India, Sun Weidong, on Tuesday expressed the hope that the Indian side could “review” the situation with regard to the novel Coronavirus epidemic in an “objective, rational and calm manner” and “resume” normal personnel exchanges and trade.

The Chinese envoy’s remarks came as India has put travel restrictions and cancelled visas for Chinese nationals visiting India, in the wake of the outbreak.

On reports that the virus spread from a laboratory in Wuhan, Weidong said that the virus originated from nature and was “not man-made”.

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During his briefing, he underlined the efforts made by the Chinese government and the Communist Party of China (CPC), led by President Xi Jinping. He invoked the Chinese government at least 11 times during his statement, named Xi five times and mentioned the CPC thrice, while reading from a prepared statement that lasted more than 35 minutes.

In the statement, he outlined three aspects of the Chinese government’s fight against the epidemic which were termed as the ‘3 Cs’ — “confidence, compassion and cooperation”.

In his first media interaction since taking charge last year, the Chinese envoy said, “The WHO (World Health Organization) 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.”

Responding to questions on India's travel restrictions, Weidong said, “We understand that some countries take reasonable and necessary measures like thermal screenings at ports of entry. In fact, most countries have not overreacted to the outbreak, and some countries have even begun to adjust strict measures exceeding the WHO’s recommendation.”

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

Responding to a question on the genesis of the virus, he said, “...Based on the analysis of the genomic sequence, what we could know now is that this virus originates from nature, not man-made. The virus is terrible, but rumour is more terrible. It will create panic and overreaction. We must ensure the truth outweigh the rumours... Only through mutual understanding and cooperation, can we truly overcome the epidemic. We hope that the international community can view the epidemic in a calm way.”