Pakistan Can Benefit More From Chinese Experience in Virus Combat
The Pakistan government needs to benefit from the experience of its first door neighbor and Iron Brother China
By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai  ·  2020-03-16  ·   Source: The Daliy Mail, Pakistan

With Novel Coronavirus, codenamed COVID-19 hitting over 150 countries across the world, Pakistan has emerged as one of the leading States to have taken robust measures to counter the spread of the deadly virus and this has been materialized only by following initial response module of China, yet there is still a lot that Pakistan government need to benefit from the experience of its first door neighbor and Iron Brother China, reveal the findings of the investigations, carried out by The Daily Mail.

The Daily Mail's investigations indicate that right after the revelation of the COVID-19, Chinese authorities not only shared technical data about virus but they also shared the measures they were going to adopt for prevention of the virus spread. The investigations indicate that the China's recommendations were not taken seriously by many foreign government and COVID-19 was deemed to be a China specific issue.

However, Pakistan government, that was not only a bordering State with China but was also embracing to welcome thousands of Chinese nationals back to Pakistan after the Spring Festival holidays, was keen to follow China's initial response methodology. Investigations indicate that Chinese embassy in Islamabad was also very instrumental in extensive sharing of the Initial Response tactics of China with local authorities, particularly in the backdrop of the expected thrust of the Chinese nationals from China, working on CPEC projects across Pakistan. Pakistan was the only country that did not cut of its flight operations with China but instead started working closely with Chinese officials to fight the virus spread possibilities and thus emerged as the first foreign country to have started thermo scanning system at its airports and later adopted quarantine process amicably, despite the limitation of resources. It was due to these China coordinated efforts by Pakistani authorities, that despite continuing with flight operations with China, no singly virus infected person could reach Pakistan from China and that too during China’s peak virus spread time and till now, none of the 51 reported cases have China on their travel history, meaning none of the cases had virus, imported from China.

Investigations reveal Prime Minister Imran Khan, right from the beginning remained a firm believer of tackling the virus spread challenge by focusing on guidelines, issued by the WHO and the module, adopted by China. During the recently convened meeting of the National Security Council, Premier insisted on following the Chinese and WHO parameters to counter virus challenge. The premier, who was earlier a big fan of Chinese leadership because of their anti-poverty methodology, is now having more reasons to admire Beijing and their virus combat module is on top.

There are reports that some of his officials have proposed to him that a team from Pakistan be sent to China to gain more benefits from Chinese experience while he has not been told that the Chinese experience can easily be shared by following the available module, based on seven steps. The Chinese experience shows that the COVID-19 can and will be contained by strongly adopting the 7 steps that include full response, mass mobilization, political determination, rapid policy adjustments, easing economic pain, transparent &coordinated actions and extensive use of science and technology. The daily mail’s investigations indicate that these seven steps of Chinese experience have emerged as role model for the entire global community and Pakistan can very easily and smoothly adopt these steps due to already existing intensive coordination with China.

The details of these seven steps is as under:


To battle a highly infectious disease, the first and foremost task is to stop it from spreading. Therefore, China locked down virus epicenter Wuhan, where 10 million people live, on January 23. Across Hubei Province, as many as 60 million people faced some sort of outbound restriction.

Right at its peak, Hubei's capital city of Wuhan designated 86 hospitals to treat the disease. Within about two weeks, it built two field hospitals — Huoshenshan and Leishenshan — to offer 2,600 beds for the severely-ill. The city added another 13,000 beds in 16 public-facility-turned hospitals for people with mild symptoms. By far, all the 16 temporary hospitals have been closed as the spike in cases is already over.

The outbreak of the virus coincided with the Lunar New Year holiday in China from January 24 to February 2. The country launched a nationwide prevention campaign, calling on people to wear masks, wash hands, self isolate, and refrain from gathering. Banners, drones and raps were used to get the message across the country. The holiday passenger volume was slashed by half, and for those who needed to travel, seats were spaced out to minimize contact.

Across China, patients with fever, a key symptom of the disease, are directed to fever clinics to prevent cross-infection. Infected patients are sent to designated hospitals, depending on their level of severity. Tests are free of charge, and treatment is covered by medical insurance.

China’s National Health Commission rolled out seven editions of a guideline on diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Companies that make reagents and testing kits went full throttle.


China made sure that all resources be poured into Wuhan and other cities in Hubei, the hardest-hit by the virus. A day after Wuhan lockdown, 450 military medics arrived to help local doctors. By far, about 42,000 medical staff from other parts of China, including the military, were dispatched to Hubei. Under a "pairing-up support" system, 19 provincial-level regions sent medics to help virus fight in Hubei. One in 10 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) specialists in China has been dispatched to Hubei to treat critically-ill patients. During the early stages of the outbreak, medics faced a dire shortage of supplies. Therefore, factories that previously made garments, plastics, and even tofu, shifted rapidly to mask production, even though the transformation may come at a cost.

According to China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China's output of protective clothing surged to 500,000 pieces per day from fewer than 20,000 pieces at the beginning of the outbreak. The daily output of N95-rated medical masks rose from 200,000 to 1.6 million, while regular masks production reached 100 million. For ordinary people, a two-week quarantine is required on anyone who has traveled to virus-affected provinces or countries.

The Chinese people followed government rules, locked themselves at homes, and kept social distances in selfless sacrifice to maintain stability and public health. Big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai strengthened "people's defense" and ramped up contingency plans. Community workers have to go grocery shopping, buy medicine, and run other errands for families who served quarantine rules.

Large-scale body temperature testing is mandated in workplaces, public venues, and residential communities.


What China faced was the hardest major public health emergency to contain since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. President Xi said the epidemic is a major test of China's system and capacity for governance. On January 20, Chinese President ordered resolute efforts to curb the spread of the virus, putting people’s safety and health as the top priority. Under his command, China carried out the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures in a people's war. Since January, the epidemic response was on the agenda in a series of Communist Party of China (CPC) leadership meetings Xi chaired, including seven meetings of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

On January 25, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang began heading a central leading group on the epidemic response, and the country initiated an interagency mechanism. Daily announcements are made on the number of diagnosed and suspected patients in each city. Vice Premier Sun Chunlan has been in Hubei to oversee work on the ground. Local officials who failed their responsibility in containing the epidemic were fired. In February, Party chiefs of Hubei and Wuhan were replaced in light of the serious problems exposed in the initial response.


To stem the outbreak, Chinese authorities extended the New Year holiday and kept schools shut. In February, China announced it will postpone the annual sessions of the national legislative and political advisory bodies, a key event on the country’s political calendar. By the end of January, all provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland had activated top-level emergency response to the epidemic, canceling mass events, suspending long-distance buses, and closing tourist spots. When the situation began to improve, provinces took differentiated measures to resume economic activities amid prevention work.

According to a national guideline, regions with relatively low risks shifted focus on preventing imported cases and comprehensively restoring the order of production and life. Medium-risk regions should promote work and production resumption in an orderly manner, while high-risk regions such as Wuhan should continue to be fully committed to epidemic prevention and control.


To keep the economy on track, ministries and local governments rolled out policies to ensure agricultural production in the spring season, facilitate business operation and employment, with specific measures such as provisionally lowering or waiving employers' social insurance contributions. Authorities have kept consumer prices stable and punished price gouging.

China's State Council unveiled a new policy to support foreign trade and investment. Measures in the pipeline include a shorter negative list of foreign investment and more foreign trade loans from financial institutions.

China has about 170 million rural migrant workers employed away from their hometowns, and getting them back to work after the holiday posed a significant challenge. Companies chartered buses, high-speed trains, and planes to get them back to workplaces safe and sound.

China has over 854 million people with access to the Internet. Mobile payment and express delivery services are ubiquitous, sustaining everyday needs amid the epidemic.

The number of online meetings supported by Tencent Meeting on February 10, when most companies started resuming work, jumped 100 times from its previous daily use. Ten online medical platforms in China have over 100,000 doctors online every day, and some platforms provide free Q&A for users in Hubei.


Domestically, officials handling the outbreak faced constant scrutiny from the public and were pressured to make good on the promise to keep the people safe.

On the international stage, Chinese authorities have vowed transparency and coordinated response with the global community. On January 12, China shared the genome sequences of the new virus with the World Health Organization, after identifying the pathogen on January 7.

So far, China has shared multiple files on epidemic control as well as diagnosis and treatment plans with over 100 countries and more than 10 international and regional organizations. It provided medical supplies and testing kits to other countries hit by the virus, including Italy, the Republic of Korea, and Japan. China also sent medical experts to Iran, Iraq and Italy to aid the anti-virus battle.


No one knew how to treat the new disease. However, science and technology are the most powerful weapon in humanity's battle against diseases. President Xi called for accelerated development of new-type testing kits, antibody medicines, vaccines, diagnosis, and treatment plans. Several drugs, such as Chloroquine Phosphate and Remdesivir, are being tested. Convalescent plasma therapy has been experimented with. A vaccine is being developed. Outside research labs and hospital wards, technology has also come to the fore, making life easier and safer. China saw robots spraying disinfectants, drones taking temperatures and wider use of health codes.

Hangzhou was the first Chinese city to adopt QR codes for medical service. The QR codes, produced with mobile app Alipay, is connected with users' electronic health cards and social security cards, facilitating everything from registration to medicine taking. Instead of filling in health report forms, residents can now show the QR codes at community or expressway checkpoints. Thus, no-contact checks can be carried out to reduce virus transmission risks.

The Daily Mail's research indicates that all these steps can in one way or the other, easily be adopted by Pakistan government with slight adjustments to local resources and conditions and for certain in-depth sharing, close coordination with Beijing can be maintained to ensure a meaningful combat against deadly virus without letting the panic to prevail at any stage.

China Focus
Special Reports
About Us
Contact Us
Advertise with Us
Partners:   |   China Today   |   China Pictorial   |   People's Daily Online   |   Women of China   |   Xinhua News Agency   |   China Daily
CGTN   |   China Tibet Online   |   China Radio International   |   Global Times   |   Qiushi Journal
Copyright Beijing Review All rights reserved 京ICP备08005356号 京公网安备110102005860