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Chinese-funded COVID-19 treatment center in Zimbabwe opens officially

Xinhua News,HARARE
2020-07-24 09:58

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HARARE, July 23 (Xinhua) -- A newly established state-of-the-art COVID-19 treatment center that was funded by Chinese firms operating in the country officially opened on Thursday.

Three Chinese firms teamed up with a local private medical institution to establish the facility in the capital Harare.

The local partner, Health Point, is providing medical expertise while the Chinese firms are providing medical equipment and funding.

The medical facility, named Health Point Upper East Medical Center (HPUEMC), has a capacity to accommodate 50 COVID-19 patients at a time.

When touring the medical center on Wednesday, Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun said only through solidarity and cooperation can the international community overcome the pandemic.

In an interview with Xinhua during the tour, Guo said he hoped the medical center can help Zimbabwe reduce pressure on COVID-19.

"The virus is a common challenge to humanity," he said. "And China is one of the first countries to be hit by the coronavirus, so we have lessons and experiences to share with other countries including with African countries."

The facility is the first hospital in the country to be run through a partnership between Zimbabwe and China.

"Although the hospital is not a public one, it is a very good supplement to the medical system of Zimbabwe. We hope to see more cooperation in the future," Guo said.

He stressed that China will continue to step up assistance to Zimbabwe and other African countries in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also said cooperation between Zimbabwe and China is practical and visible, and must contribute to the wellbeing of ordinary people.

Peter Annesley, Health Point Hospitals Chief Executive Officer, expressed confidence that the cooperation between Zimbabwe and the Chinese side will go a long way in fighting the pandemic.

He said besides providing quality health care to COVID-19 patients, the new facility will also provide training to other medical institutions in the country.

"We think it's going to be the premium COVID-19 treatment center in Zimbabwe that will help other healthcare facilities come and understand the best practices on how to manage and care for COVID-19 positive patients.

"It will not be just a treatment center for the general public, the Chinese community and the business community, it will also become a very powerful training facility to help people learn how to deal with COVID cases," Annesley said.

Michael Li, Executive Director of HPUEMC, said the goal of the facility is not to rake in profits, but to serve the community.

"We believe that we have the moral and social responsibility to help the country fight the pandemic," he said.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in Zimbabwe in March, the Chinese government and Chinese companies operating in the country have made notable contributions to the country's fight against the pandemic through donations of medical supplies and providing technical support to Zimbabwe's frontline personnel.
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