Manchester offers support to sister city Wuhan in fight against coronavirus

EYEAFRICA TV: Manchester, UK: The mayor of Greater Manchester has offered support to China and pledged to send essential medical supplies to help fight the novel coronavirus in central China’s Wuhan City, which is twinned with Manchester.

Mayor Andy Burnham held a meeting with Zheng Xiyuan, Chinese Consul General in Manchester, and representatives from the local Chinese community in Manchester on Thursday, in which he listened to their concerns about the coronavirus outbreak originating in Wuhan.

Manchester and Wuhan have shared a twin-city partnership which dates back to 1986, with the two sides sharing strong business links and cultural ties, while a significant number of students from Wuhan have also studied in Manchester over the years.

Following the meeting, Burnham held a press conference with Zheng in which he expressed his solidarity with China and also denounced all discrimination against Chinese people.

Burnham said that key medical items are being gathered from the National Health Service (NHS) and vowed to facilitate the sending of these supplies to the frontline in Wuhan.

“[We have] sent a message around NHS organizations in Greater Manchester, asking for specific items which have been requested by the Chinese authorities, and I know that the NHS here will step up to the plate. We also heard a request from members of the Chinese community to facilitate the procurement of supplies through companies here, and we will be very much taking those issues forward, alongside the transportation that might be needed,” said Burnham.

Despite the impact of the virus, many business insiders are confident that China will overcome the current crisis and believe the Chinese economy will remain resilient and continue its strong long-term development.

“I think largely we remain confident. We’ve seen China navigate its way very effectively through similar challenges in the past, and I remain very confident that China has the right measures to be able to navigate its way through what will undoubtedly be a very sort of challenging 2020. But I’m sure, looking mid- to long-term, that the right levers will be pulled, and that we will see the Chinese economy bounce back,” said Rhys Whalley, Executive Director of the Manchester China Forum.

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