China's anti-virus practice can help the fight in Latin America
China has already become a global leader in COVID-19 management, given the steady decline in the number of infections in China. This fact represents an achievement considering the country’s size of population. So I think it can be useful to reflect on how China has managed to contain this pandemic.
As a matter of fact, since the beginning of the epidemic, China has stood out for its promotion of international collaboration.
As an example, relevant research institute in China shared the genomic sequences of the virus at the earliest possible time.
At the same time, the Chinese government has sent medical aid and experts to Italy, Spain, Iraq and Iran, to name just a few.
This collaborative drive contrasts sharply with the attitudes of some Western countries.
Similarly, in Latin America a disconnection can be perceived between countries that are not only in the same region, but also have similar cultural and economic underpinnings.
In addition to collaboration with other countries, the Chinese people have also demonstrated remarkable spirit of solidarity in fighting COVID-19.
The Chinese volunteers have been equally impressive.
They could be found in all spheres of life, ranging from neighborhood committees helping control the spread of the disease, people supplying provisions to those quarantined, to those who work in public services, like bus drivers.
Digital technology has also played an important role in overcoming the epidemic.
In promoting work at home, the Chinese government encourages the development of applications that allow work to be facilitated at home, such as Tecent’s WeChat Work and Alibaba’s DingTalk.
Food delivery companies, by facilitating the distribution of food, have also provided a valuable service.
There has also been growing recognition of some devices during the pandemic.
The use of thermal camera, which measures people’s body temperature remotely, the use of drones, and the utilization of disinfecting robots are just some of the more obvious examples.
Another perspective concerns the relationship between commercial interests and the strategic orientation of the state.
This is one of the most remarkable aspects of China.
During my stay in Shanghai last year, and during my visit to cities like Shenzhen and Beijing, I have noticed an amazing interaction between Chinese universities and companies, as well as between Chinese companies and the strategic interests of the state.
This collaboration is logical and useful, for commercial companies could provide solutions to pressing problems confronting the society in general.
China’s successful epidemic control effort also suggests it is essential to ensure a supply of quality information and, at the same time, stem the circulation of disinformation.
It is necessary to activate detection protocols targeting fake contents or rumors that only cause unnecessary anxiety and unease among the people.
In tackling COVID-19, the Chinese government’s responsiveness and its people’s resilience has surprised the world.
In a similar vein, we could also hope to defeat this global pandemic by promoting collaboration and solidarity among different peoples.
We can also learn from the country’s promotion of innovative online solutions, and proactive practice in cracking down on rumors and lies.
All these Chinese experiences could be put to good use in Latin America, if countries there desire to contain the pandemic at the earliest possible date.
The author is a senior lecturer at the Universidad del Rosario (Colombia). He is also the coordinator of the group in digital communication, social networks and processes at the Latin American Association of Researchers in Communication. He has been a visiting scholar at Fudan Development Institute, Fudan University.