On the afternoon of 19 February, Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu hosted the third briefing on the epidemic control of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for diplomatic missions in China. The briefing was held online and attended by diplomatic envoys and representatives of more than 180 diplomatic missions. Ma provided updates on the epidemic and China's response measures. The Foreign Affairs Office of the People's Government of Beijing Municipality briefed the participants on the latest containment measures concerning foreigners returning to Beijing during the epidemic, which were closely followed by the diplomatic missions. The Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges of the Ministry of Education and relevant departments of the Foreign Ministry answered questions on work related to foreign students and foreign nationals in China.
Ma said, with General Secretary Xi Jinping personally instructing and directing the epidemic response, the Chinese government and people are united as one in fighting the outbreak, and clear results have been produced. WHO noted that China's robust and effective measures have curbed the spread of the virus both inside China and to other countries. In a show of support and sympathy to China, leaders of over 150 countries and 30-plus international organizations including the United Nations have written to Chinese leaders. The African Union, ASEAN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS have issued statements expressing solidarity and sympathy. Donations from various countries and international organizations have arrived in Wuhan. The China-WHO joint expert team has started its work in China.
Ma stressed that the Chinese government attaches great importance to the safety, health and well-being of foreign nationals in China. The Foreign Ministry and other competent authorities have directed relevant local departments to do their level best to address difficulties encountered by foreign nationals. First, China has enhanced information disclosure. Second, China has worked to guarantee the daily needs of foreign nationals. Third, China has been doing its utmost to treat foreign patients. Fourth, China has worked to ensure sound services for international students, taking care of them the way it cares for its own children.
The Chinese side answered questions from the diplomatic envoys and representatives on the requirements for foreign nationals visiting Beijing during the epidemic, on measures to help international students in China, and on visas and scholarships.
The diplomatic envoys and representatives participating in the briefing thanked the Foreign Ministry for holding the third briefing, and expressed their readiness to step up cooperation with China and to support China in defeating the epidemic at an early date.