Overcoming coronavirus requires global co-op: ambassador

April 4, 2020 - 18:5

TEHRAN — Iranian Ambassador to China Mohammad Keshavarz-Zadeh has said overcoming the coronavirus pandemic requires global cooperation.

In a tweet on Saturday, Keshavarz-Zadeh said “Saturday” has been declared a day of mourning across China to remember victims of coronavirus.

He pointed out that more than one million people in the world are suffering from coronavirus today.

The Iranian envoy also extended his condolences to the families of the victims of the coronavirus, especially the Iranian people.

Earlier on Saturday, people across China stopped for three minutes to pay tribute to those who have died in the country’s coronavirus outbreak.

In Wuhan, where the outbreak began, all traffic lights in urban areas were turned red for three minutes. The city of 11 million was the hardest hit by the outbreak, recording 2,567 fatalities. This accounts for more than three-quarters of China’s coronavirus deaths.

Earlier, the ambassador warned that the world should be vigilant against any xenophobic, racist or intolerant propaganda.

“It’s absolutely wrong and inappropriate to label the novel coronavirus as the ‘China Virus’ or ‘Wuhan Virus’,” he told China.org.cn, referring to the practice of tying the virus to China by U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier in March.

The ambassador said this kind of propaganda is not a new type of ignorance and racism, however, such language from the top leadership of a major power is unprecedented in the 21st century.

Trump’s language has also drawn domestic criticism. “It's certainly not the way the leadership of the United States, the secretary of state, and the president of the United States, ought to be behaving in the best of times - but certainly not in a crisis,” The Hill quoted former White House national security adviser Susan Rice as saying on Tuesday. 

In the short term, Keshavarz Zadeh called on all countries and the United Nations to make effective arrangement to lead global efforts in sharing data about the COVID-19, coordinating international research, providing and encouraging greater funding of the World Health Organization, and humanitarian assistance.

According to the diplomat, Iran, the hardest-hit country in Middle East, has entered a dire situation at a time when the government was already under extreme pressure by U.S. unilateral sanctions. This has hampered Iran's ability to purchase and access vital medical equipment and pharmaceuticals from the international market.

MH/PA

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