KUWAIT: Chinese Ambassador to Kuwait Li Minggang speaks during a press conference yesterday. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Around 600 Chinese workers are currently stranded in China as the result of a ban imposed by Kuwait on Chinese citizens as a precautionary measure to protect Kuwait against the deadly coronavirus epidemic. The workers, according to Chinese Ambassador to Kuwait Li Minggang, were all engaged in the most important government projects in Kuwait.

“We are saddened by the situation, but our workers are awaiting positive developments. Experts in China are all working hand-in-hand to find a real solution to the deadly virus. They have been testing, and there are some positive developments so far. We are cooperating to slow down the transmission of the virus,” said Li.

He also admitted the negative impact of the ban on trade, as some products have not been able to arrive on time and there are reported delays. “It is a race against time and a race against the spread of the virus,” he added. According to the latest data, China has now 72,530 confirmed cases, 1,870 deaths and 12,682 recoveries.

Since the outbreak at the end of December last year, the Chinese government, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, has rapidly established a national mechanism, mobilized human and material resources from all parts of China and took the most comprehensive, strict and effective measures to combat the virus.

“The Chinese government has given top priority to ensure the safety and health of our people. We have taken decisive measures to contain the spread of the virus, save the infected patients and reduce the fatality rate,” Li said. He noted that Chinese scientists have successfully separated the strain of the virus and identified the diagnostic reagent in only seven days, and shared the genetic sequence of the virus in a timely manner with the World Health Organization.

The envoy said the Chinese government cares about the safety of foreign citizens residing in China. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China has established a mechanism to coordinate on matters related to foreigners, and has briefed foreign ambassadors to China about the epidemiological situation twice and provided them with information related to the epidemic in different languages. Foreign affairs offices of local governments across China have been in contact with diplomats, students and other foreign nationals who are in China as well, and their moderate concerns and needs have been addressed in a timely manner.

To date, a total of 27 confirmed cases of foreigners in China have been reported, including three recovered cases, two deaths and 22 cases under quarantine. “Meanwhile, we are touched and inspired by many foreigners in China since they have signed up and asked to work as volunteers to fight the epidemic,” said Li.

Li said that a virus of this proportion requires joint action to confront it. “So far, more than 160 country leaders and representatives of international organizations have expressed their condolences and support to China,” he said, adding that HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent a cable of condolences to Xi stressing his full confidence that China is able to eradicate the epidemic soon.

Likewise, HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanem, HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah sent similar cables to express their support for China. To date, more than 40 countries have provided material and financial assistance to the affected areas in China. “We are grateful for all the support from these countries,” Li concluded.