Spain could learn more from China to stop worsening epidemic situation

By Wan Lin Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/26 0:23:40

An aircraft carrying medical aid from China to help Spain combat the COVID-19 arrives at Zaragoza airport in northern Spain on March 17, 2020. (Photo by Qiu Yijing/Xinhua)

 As the COVID-19 death toll soars in Spain with a lack of medical resources, Chinese experts called on Spain to replicate more of China's successful experiences and said China can offer further support, as they are concerned that Spain would become the next "epicenter of Europe," following Italy, if no effective measures are in place immediately. 

As of Wednesday, 7,937 new cases were confirmed in Spain, bringing the total to 47,610, making it the second most-affected country in Europe, behind Italy, according to the Ministry of Health of Spain's latest release. From 10,000 cases to 40,000, it only took Spain eight days to see the curve rise. Spain's situation is worsening quickly, with 738 deaths in one day, according to El Mundo, a major Spanish newspaper, on Wednesday. The death toll reached 3,434.

China has sent aids to Spain to help the country fight the COVID-19 outbreak. An aircraft carrying medical aid from China arrived at Zaragoza airport in northern Spain on March 17, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

The shipment consisting of 500,000 medical masks donated by the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation was received by officials from the Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Services. 

The belated and lax preventative measures and the high mobility of residents are the two main causes for the current serious epidemic in Spain, Jiang Shixue, a distinguished professor at Shanghai University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Just like Italy, the Spain government underestimated how serious the epidemic can be at the early stage of the outbreak and failed to take draconian measures to prevent it from spreading. It has missed the high time to contain the virus, Jiang said. 

He noted that the high mobility among the European citizens and large events, such as protests and football games, happening in the  early stage in Spain were major factors that led to its current situation.

Spain entered a state of emergency on March 15 and announced on Sunday a 15-day extension. Carlos Sentis, a Madrid-based expert on West-China relations and the founder of the World Impact Alliance, an NGO covering health issues, told the Global Times that "It is time for our leaders and societies to rise, to work together with strength and determination. It is time for values and compassion, for unity and collaboration. Our world will change forever."

Jin Rong, a Madrid-based Chinese teacher who has lived in Spain for 10 years, told the Global Times on Wednesday that "Everyone is panic buying groceries here. The food is not enough, so are face masks." 

Some Chinese in Spain would share masks with local police and community workers as they are often seen working without any protection.

A Beijing-based expert on epidemic prevention and control who asked for anonymity said as China has already sent materials to Spain, what China can help in next stage is to keep or increase the materials supply, and to provide experiences through video meetings or send professional team to provide guidance and suggestions.

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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