China urges 'stronger global cooperation', quick action as COVID-19 cases continue to surge

Beijing: China has been urging for a 'stronger international cooperation' and quick action to fight the coronavirus epidemic that originated in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province.

On Friday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held a telephonic conversation with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU), over the COVID-19 pandemic, state media reported.

Li urged global cooperation to fight the disease outbreak, saying China is ready to engage in international cooperation with the EU to exchange and share experience in epidemic prevention, control and treatment.

The epidemic has currently spread to every country across the globe and become a global challenge with more than six lakhs people being infected by the virus and over 25,000 others succumbing to the infection worldwide, according to the data compiled by John Hopkins University.

On the same day, the Chinese Premier also dialled up Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to deliberate over the issue. Li assured to provide all assistance within the country's capabilities, including purchase and transportation of medical supplies from China, to assist Austria during the hour of need.

The development took place after President Xi Jinping on Friday urged for a coordinated joint action between China and the US to fight against the novel coronavirus during a phone call with his American counterpart Donald Trump, saying that he hopes that Washington will take concrete steps to improve bilateral relations.

China has already shared information on the novel virus, including the genetic sequencing of the virus, with the Word Health Organisation (WHO) and countries including the US. The country has also shared its experience on epidemic containment and medical treatment and done its best to support and help countries in need of assistance, Xi said, adding that his country will continue to do so.

Following the conversation, Trump tweeted, "We are working closely together. Much respect!"

In China, more than half the country extended a Lunar New Year holiday shutdown by at least a week, and many businesses are still not fully back to normal operations as more than 3,000 people have been killed by the virus.

In a sign of how China is recovering, the domestic epicentre of the virus, Wuhan city, is set to emerge from lockdown on April 8. Authorities have already relaxed the two-month lockdown in several provinces other than Hubei in the mainland. 

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