BSS-48 Coronavirus not impacting Bangladesh-China trade: Envoy





Coronavirus not impacting Bangladesh-China trade: Envoy

DHAKA, Feb 6, 2020 (BSS) – Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Li Jiming today ruled out the possibility of casting any impact on Dhaka-Beijing trade relations due to outbreak of deadly coronavirus as Bangladesh is responding in this regard on a rational plane.

“So far there is no travel ban between China and Bangladesh …. and cargo don’t carry virus,” he told newsmen at a press briefing along with Deputy Chief of Mission Yan Hualong at Chinese Embassy here.

However, the envoy feared that some China-supported ongoing large development projects here may be delayed due to the virus as the Chinese people who used to work here but now in China have been discouraged to come back.

“We advised those Chinese companies working on mega projects not to send new employees from China and to not to let their staff enter here (Bangladesh) … definitely it will create problem in implementing the projects,” he said.

But, the Chinese Ambassador expressed his hope that Chinese authorities would be able to contain the virus and the situation will be better soon. “But, I think it (virus outbreak) will not last long,” he said.

The envoy said implementation of the development projects will not be delayed, if the situation got better within one or two months.

Li said the Chinese Embassy in Bangladesh conducted a statistical screening of the health condition of Chinese nationals in Bangladesh soon after the outbreak, and no suspected or confirmed cases has so far been identified.

And, he said no Bangladeshi citizen residing in China so far is virus-infected.

He said China has done a lot so far to ensure the health and safety of the Bangladeshi expatriates in China, and is always maintaining communication with the Bangladeshis to update the development of the epidemic and its prevention.

Attaching high importance to the well-being of foreign nationals in China, especially in Wuhan and Hubei cities, China has adopted effective measures to address their concerns and needs in an orderly manner, he said.

“We hope that Bangladesh can support and understand us, as always, in this battle against the epidemic, which China has all the confidence and capability to win,” he said.

Urging all including the media to avoid spreading rumours, Li said “Let general people be alert but not create panic.”

The Ambassador alleged that few countries like the USA, Australia and Italy have been overreacting on the situation saying that the mortality rate of novel coronavirus in China is about 2.1 percent that is much lower than other contagious diseases.

He mentioned that according to media reports, the 2009 H1N1 flu, out broke from the US had a mortality rate of 17.4 percent while the mortality rate of MERS of 2012 was 34.4 percent and Ebola 40.4 percent.

Bangladesh recently suspended on-arrival visa provision for Chinese nationals and set up screening facilities at the country’s all international airports due to outbreak of deadly corona virus.

Expressing Chinese contentment regarding Bangladesh’s response regarding the situation, the ambassador said screening at airports or suspending on-arrival visa facilities are very common measures. “These are all rationale,” he said.

Quoting WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros, the envoy said the speed with which China detected the outbreak, isolated the virus, sequenced the genome and shared it with WHO and the world are very impressive.

China’s coronavirus crisis witnessed the death toll soaring to 563 today while more than 28,000 people have now been infected across China.