China calls for ‘global firewall’ to halt spread of COVID-19

China calls for ‘global firewall’ to halt spread of COVID-19

G-20 world leaders urge cooperation to defeat virus

JAKARTA/SHANGHAI — Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to strengthen his country’s cooperation with other countries on COVID-19, stressing the need for a “global firewall” to reopen trade and to make vaccines available to all during a virtual summit of leaders from the world’s 20 biggest economies.

“First, build a global firewall against COVID-19. We must first put the disease under control at home and, on that basis, strengthen exchanges and cooperation to help countries in need,” Xi said at the Group of 20 online event, hosted by Saudi Arabia.

The world’s second-biggest economy has seen a strong recovery from the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown, growing 4.9% between July and September compared with the same period a year ago. However, restrictions on movement and social activity has meant that most countries in the world have not been able to bounce back as strongly.

To enable economies to reopen, Xi proposed setting up an international mechanism of health codes linked to polymerase chain reaction test. The mechanism assigns colored QR codes to citizens based on their COVID-19 test results; those who test negative are given a green QR code on their mobile phones, allowing them to skirt some social restrictions. The mechanism has been in use in China since February.