Chinese Embassy Working with Greek Authorities to Prevent Coronavirus Spread

Αssociated Press

FIile- China's President Xi Jinping, centre and his Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos, left, shake hands prior to their meeting at the Presidential palace in Athens, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. Xi Jinping is in Greece on a two-day official visit. (AP Photos/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS - The Chinese Embassy in Greece is closely cooperating with the Greek authorities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Greece, China's Ambassador to Greece Zhang Qiyue said in a briefing on Thursday, adding that there was no reason for panic.

"The disease can be prevented, controlled and treated," she stressed, adding: "Although NCIP has infected many people, the mortality rate (2.1 pct) in China is much lower than that of other infectious diseases such as Ebola, SARS and MERS."

She also stressed that "with the decisive and effective measures taken by the Chinese government and with the strong support of the Chinese people, as well as the international community, we have full confidence, determination and the ability to win the fight against this contagious disease."

Qiyue thanked the Greek government for its support to China, while pointing out that the President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos sent a letter to the President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping, expressing his sympathy for the Chinese people, and hope that the virus will soon be brought under control.

"We sincerely thank President Pavlopoulos, the Greek government and the Greek people for their constant support and understanding at this difficult time, which demonstrates the traditional friendship between our two nations, as 'the friend in need is a friend indeed'," she said.

She also noted that the Chinese government has taken extremely strong measures to limit the epidemic, with group travel inside and outside the country suspended and mass gatherings cancelled. The health alert is at the highest level in all provinces of the country, while rigorous controls and medical examinations are carried out at airports and stations.

China, she stressed, is working closely with and sharing all technical information and disease data with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Specifically for Greece, the Chinese ambassador said the embassy is working closely with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to facilitate prevention and control efforts, as well as to provide consular assistance to Chinese citizens in need.

"As for Chinese living in Greece, the embassy is working closely with the Chinese community, creating an information exchange network targeted at all Chinese citizens in Greece, inviting those who have spent the last few weeks in Hubei to postpone their return and others to exercise self-understanding for at least two weeks after returning to Greece," she noted.

The embassy has printed leaflets and distributed them at the airport and in the Chinese community to advise passengers and Chinese citizens on prevention and self-protection and to direct them to designated hospitals if necessary.

"The Embassy has informed Air China to carry out rigorous passenger health checks during boarding in Beijing and to report any suspicious cases to the Greek health authorities. It also recommended to the official Chinese delegations planning to visit Greece this month to postpone their visits."