OSLO, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- There is no factual basis to shift the blame to China for one's own responsibility of ineffective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said in Oslo.
Wang made the statement Thursday at a joint press conference with Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide, when a reporter asked for Wang's comments on an allegation that China has failed to share information of the novel coronavirus, which the reporter said had originated in China, in a timely manner and that has led to the spread of COVID-19 to other countries.
"What you have said is not the fact. China is the first country to report the epidemic, which does not mean that the novel coronavirus epidemic originated in China," Wang said.
A lot of information and investigations, he said, have discovered the existence of the novel coronavirus in multiple countries around the world, and some of them had emerged before China reported the virus.
So where the epidemic originated and who is "patient zero" is a scientific question that requires scientists and medical experts to reach a conclusion through scientific research, Wang said, adding that no one has the right to politicize the origin-tracing, let alone to label the virus.
The novel coronavirus was unknown to all before the epidemic. China carried out an epidemiological investigation at the very beginning of discovering unknown pneumonia cases, identified the pathogen, and shared the whole gene sequence timely with the world, Wang said.
After confirming the human-to-human transmission of the virus, the Chinese side also made a decisive decision to close the passage out of Wuhan in central China. This was not an easy decision, Wang said, as Wuhan is a city with a population of 10 million. "But we took this decision nonetheless on the principle that people's lives and health are paramount."
In the meantime, the top diplomat explained, China activated first-level emergency response in all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, quickly cut off the chain of virus transmission, and finally effectively overcame the epidemic.
The World Health Organization team of experts visiting China agreed that the measures taken by China were very timely and effective. They not only prevented the spread of the epidemic in China, but also bought time for the rest of the world. That is the basic fact, he noted.
Wang said there is no factual basis for the U.S. to try to blame China for its own ineffective response to the epidemic.
On Jan. 23 when China closed the passage out of Wuhan and implemented first-level emergency response nationwide and took comprehensive precautions in line with Class A infectious diseases, there were only nine confirmed cases in countries and regions outside China and only one in the United States, Wang said.
On Jan. 31, the U.S. suspended direct flights with China. On Feb. 2, it closed its borders to all Chinese citizens when only 10 plus confirmed cases were announced in the United States. "The timeline is clear," he stressed.
After China cut off the spread of the epidemic to the rest of the world, the reason why the epidemic has spread so dramatically in certain country is a question that deserves serious consideration and in-depth investigation, Wang said.
"I believe that as time goes by, the truth of the matter will become clearer," he noted.
Norway is the third leg after Italy and the Netherlands in Wang's first foreign tour as the COVID-19 epidemic eases. The official visit in Europe from Aug. 25 to Sept. 1 will also take him to France and Germany.