China, Singapore Join Hands To Confront Challenges Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

SINGAPORE, As the COVID-19 outbreak continued to pose grave challenges to many parts of the world, China and Singapore have been working closely together in the battle against the deadly virus.

On Tuesday, the Chinese government and the Red Cross Society of China donated 620,000 face masks to assist in the Singapore government’s efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Chinese Ambassador to Singapore, Hong Xiaoyong said, the Singapore government, the Red Cross Society, business communities and people from all walks of life, provided valuable support to China, in China’s fight against the virus, which shows the sincere friendship between the peoples from both countries.

“We are deeply moved and keep it in mind,” the Chinese ambassador added.

As early as Feb 1, Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, pointed out that China is doing all it can to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and expressed confidence that China and other countries will work together to win this battle.

The prime minister also stressed, the virus does not respect nationality or race, and the COVID-19 situation should be seen as a public health issue and not as a racial or international diplomatic problem.

On Feb 4, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that, the government will provide seed funding of one million Singapore dollars (704,000 U.S. dollars) to support efforts by the Singapore Red Cross to raise funds, to provide humanitarian assistance to the communities in China, which had been severely affected by the virus outbreak.

Currently, as the bulk of the COVID-19 patients in Singapore are foreign workers, residing in dormitories, the Chinese government also extended their assistance to those people. On Tuesday, the Chinese embassy provided the Singapore Migrant Workers’ Centre with supplies to aid the foreign workers in Singapore, who have been isolated as part of the government’s efforts to contain the virus outbreak.

On Apr 1, Vice Minister, Luo Zhaohui of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Permanent Secretary, Chee Wee Kiong of Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, co-chaired the virtual China-Singapore Joint Meeting on COVID-19. Both sides agreed to share diagnostic and treatment good practices, explore joint research and development of medicines and vaccines, and provide facilitation and support, as appropriate, to the nationals residing in each other’s country on their medical treatment and stay, among others.

Besides the Singaporean government, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI), among many other organisations, also supported the call of the Singapore Red Cross to render assistance to China.

SBF Chairman, Teo Siong Seng, said on Feb 4, “The business communities in China and Singapore enjoy long-standing and wide-ranging relationship that extends beyond trade. The fight against this virus is not China’s alone, but the world’s,” adding that, SBF will rally its members and the Singapore business community to contribute to this effort with the Singapore Red Cross.

Separately, on Feb 17, SCCCI presented a cheque of 1.1 million Singapore dollars (774,200 U.S. dollars) to the Singapore Red Cross to fund the latter’s assistance to China.

CEA President, Cheng Jun, noted that, a survey conducted among their members showed that about 70 percent of the respondents are confident about Singapore’s economic recovery after the end of COVID-19. He expressed belief that the China-Singapore ties will be consolidated in this battle, and bilateral collaboration will be broadened later on.

Equally noteworthy, countless ordinary peoples in the two countries have done their parts in jointly fighting the virus.

Wang Quancheng, head of the Singapore Hua Yuan Association, coordinated the association’s donation of personal protective supplies to medical workers in China in early Feb, did not anticipate he would receive some from the Chinese side later on.

His association, grouping new immigrants from China to Singapore, was presented in Apr, 10,000 medical facial masks from Xiamen city in southeast China’s Fujian Province.

Prior to this, Wang and his clan members managed to send 40,000 facial masks and 40,000 medical gloves, as well as goggles and protective garments, to Xiamen and other Chinese cities.

The Hua Yuan Association was a vivid example of mutual assistance between the peoples from both countries. According to local media reports, the Tung Ann District Guild of Singapore also donated face masks to Xiamen, and later received face masks from Xiamen in return.