Virus knows no boundaries, neither does the human heart. As the COVID-19 outbreak intensifies in Iran, China has provided assistance to the Middle East country's fight against the epidemic.
Since reporting the first two confirmed cases in the central city of Qom on February 19, Iran has been witnessing a furious spread of the novel coronavirus. The number of confirmed cases in the country climbed to 2,922 as of March 4, 92 of whom have died.
As the sanctions-hit country faces mounting pressure, China sent a team of medical experts there, in addition to donating nucleic acid testing kits and medical supplies.
The team comprising five experts from the Red Cross Society of China arrived at Tehran on February 29. Upon arrival, the experts said they would like to quickly grasp the epidemic situation in Iran, exchange experience on combating COVID-19 with the Iranian side, and promote bilateral cooperation on medicine and health.
On March 2, the medical team met with the Iranian Red Crescent Society to discuss how to prevent and control the spread of the virus in the country.
The Chinese team, along with experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), also discussed the role of quarantine in controlling the epidemic with Iran's health ministry on March 3, China's Red Cross Society said.
The Chinese medical team in Iran has set "an excellent example of 'peer-to-peer' experience sharing," Maria van Kerkhove, technical lead for the WHO's Health Emergencies Program, told a daily briefing in Geneva on March 3.
When the COVID-19 epidemic broke out earlier in China, Iran offered support as well, including donating medical supplies.
The Azadi Tower is illuminated in red and golden stars to resemble the national flag of China in Tehran, Iran on February 18, to show support to the epidemic-hit city of Wuhan in central China (XINHUA)
On February 18, Tehran's landmark monument, the Azadi Tower, was lit up in red, with words saying "Be Strong, Wuhan" and "Be Strong, China."
Following the COVID-19 epidemic, the first message of condolences China received from a foreign country came from Iran, said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a phone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on February 28.
Iran has interpreted with real deeds the meaning of sharing weal and woe and being in the same boat, which China will always keep in mind, Wang noted, while promising continued assistance to Iran, including cooperation on epidemic prevention and control, medical treatment and in other fields.
Zarif said Iran appreciates China's positive achievements in fighting the epidemic and is grateful for the medical supplies and technical support offered by China.
Besides aid at the governmental and institutional level, Chinese people are also offering help at the grassroots level.
A member of an online voluntary Chinese-Persian translation group works in Yining of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on March 3 (XINHUA)
During the past few days, Chen Xirui has been busy translating Chinese videos about coronavirus control into the Persian language.
"Just want to do something for the Iranians in return for their kindness to me when I studied there," said Chen, who returned to China from Iran a year ago after finishing her postgraduate program in ancient Persian history at the University of Tehran.
She is now part of an online Chinese-Persian translation volunteers' group, recently initiated by a Chinese university student with the aim of sharing coronavirus-fighting knowledge with Iranians.
The group has attracted some 200 volunteers from both China and Iran.
Iranian college student Kosar Hasani said that many Iranian netizens expressed their confusion about how to protect themselves against the virus.
"That's why I joined this group, hoping to introduce China's experience to our country," she said.
Earlier this year, Ye Xiaoliang, a Chinese businessman in Tehran, bought a batch of face masks, intending to send them back to China.
However, as the epidemic broke out in Iran, he donated the masks to an Iranian department without hesitation, along with some testing kits he bought from China.
"I just do what I can," he said. "Nothing much, just for the friendship between the two countries."
Staff of Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education arrange boxes of donated masks by China in Tehran, Iran, on February 25 (XINHUA)
Besides Iran, China has been joining hands with some other countries to fight COVID-19 by donating medical supplies as well as sharing information and experience, among others.
Chinese Foreign Ministry and the National Health Commission on March 3 held a video conference with health experts from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Turkmenistan and the Secretariat of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to share China's anti-epidemic experience.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on March 3 that China would strengthen international and regional cooperation while continuing to fight the epidemic on its own territory.
China would timely share information and experience, as well as coordinate policies and resources with other countries and the WHO to help win the global war against the epidemic, he said.