Speaking in City Hall, Chinese ambassador says coronavirus 'a challenge for the whole world' 

Speaking in City Hall, Chinese ambassador says coronavirus 'a challenge for the whole world' 
The Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, He Xiangdong in Cork City Hall met by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Sheehan, representatives from University College Cork, which has 600 Chinese students, and representatives from the Tyndall National Institute, Cork Chamber, the Irish-China Business association and six members from the Ireland Cork China Business Association.Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

The Chinese Ambassador to Ireland has said the coronavirus “absolutely can be beaten.” 

He Xiangdong, was visiting City Hall for an event to demonstrate Irish solidarity with the Chinese people in the face of the coronavirus.

He was met by Lord Mayor Councillor John Sheehan, before meeting representatives from other groups in the city, including UCC which has 600 Chinese students, and representatives from the Tyndall National Institute, Cork Chamber, the Irish-China Business association and six members from the Ireland Cork China Business Association.

Speaking to the media, Ambassador He said that the Coronovirus knows no borders. “It’s a challenge for the whole world. The most important thing is we need to show solidarity, to cooperate.

“Fortunately here in Ireland we have only seen two confirmed cases,” he said, while going on to say that there has been cooperation between China and Ireland on the issue.

“We exchanged a lot of information between us, and we shared a lot of information with the Department of Health and the HSE, and we would like to continue this important cooperation.

“We hope with the hard work of the Irish government, and the Irish people, especially the medical staff on the front line, we can unite together to win the battle.” He also said that some hard decisions have to be taken at the early stages of the outbreak in any county, such as the cancellations of mass gatherings like the St Patrick's Day parades - “The authorities here in Ireland need to make a smart, quick, and reasonable decision,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Lord Mayor said that as of now he would see no issue with the St Patrick's Day parades going ahead, but said it was an evolving situation that may change.

Councillor John Sheehan went on to say: “We’re conscious that the Chinese community here can sometimes feel the effect of the worry and concern that people may have regarding the coronavirus.

“We’ve had two cases in Ireland so far, and both of them seemed to originate in Northern Italy, so that’s encouraging. I have to say the Department of public health have been very proactive in terms of managing those cases,” he said.

Asked about further spread, and the possibility of the virus coming to Cork he said: “There is naturally concern, and I think over the next week will probably be a key time, because all those individuals who may have travelled on tours and trips to Italy - the incubation period will be up over the next week or so, so I think we should get a much better idea if it’s going to spread further.”

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