EPA/Sascha Teinbach

Portuguese Embassy in China on a “race” to secure medical equipment

The Portuguese ambassador in Beijing admitted Sunday to being in a “race against time” to guarantee vital medical equipment in the fight against the epidemic of the new coronavirus, at a time of strong increase in demand worldwide.

“We want to fight for our citizens and have the capacity to comply with our obligation. The problem is that the world is here all over,” said José Lúcio José Augusto Duarte, on the sidelines of a commemorative meeting of the donation of almost four million euros. in medical equipment by EDP and its Chinese shareholder, the state-owned China Three Gorges (CTG), to the Portuguese Ministry of Health.

Sunday morning EDP and CTG delivered 50 fans, 200 medical monitors and other equipment to the Portuguese embassy in Beijing, which will now be sent to Portugal.

Recalling that the amount offered “is not a joke”, Augusto Duarte revealed that CTG was the first company in the Asian country to offer help to the Portuguese authorities.

The supply comes at a time when the world’s ‘stocks’ have shown to be insufficient for high demand, as the disease spreads throughout the world, causing more than 31 thousand deaths and paralyzing entire countries.

The public health crisis, which began in Wuhan, central China, has since spread to Europe and the United States, resulting in a global shortage of ventilators or surgical masks.

“If we hesitated five seconds to close the contract, these fans would not be here,” admitted Zhang Dingming, executive vice president of CTG, during the ceremony.

The covid-19 pandemic is also exposing the consequences of centralizing global production chains in China, first by paralyzing the electronics or automobile industry, due to the closure of factories, ports and entire cities in the Asian country, and then to demonstrate the inability of Western countries to supply themselves with crucial medical equipment as the disease has spread across borders.

After two years marked by the commercial and technological war between Washington and Beijing, analysts predict that the health crisis will accelerate the dissociation between global distribution chains.

José Augusto Duarte admitted “having no doubt that there is much that is being questioned and debated”, but he stressed that “in the middle of a crisis, it is not the best time to make decisions”, because “we have a tendency to see only the negative “.

“At this point we are seeing an aspect that we consider less positive, which is the concentration in a country of this productive capacity of certain devices that are lacking, but also that it was this process that allowed to have cheaper products and the creation of other types of jobs in other parts of the world “, he summarized.

Chinese state television CGTN attended the meeting at the embassy. Chinese authorities and entities have made donations of medical equipment, often accompanied by mediatized ceremonies by official Beijing bodies.