Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja and Doris Obinna
The Government of the People’s Republic of China, yesterday, said it will ensure the safety of every foreign national in China, including Nigerians, following the outbreak of Coronavirus.
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingjian, who gave the assurance at a press briefing in Abuja, also allayed the fear of any Nigerian infected by the disease in china.
Pingjian said the Chinese government would address legitimate concerns of Nigerians and other foreigner nationals in China and urged the international community to stand by the country as it battles the epidemic.
The envoy said China is capable and confident of winning the battle to stem the epidemic at an early stage.
He said China’s National Health Commission reported that the total number of confirmed cases of the virus climbed to 17205 and that 21,558 people were suspected of being infected with the virus in Chinese mainland.
The envoy said 361 people had died of the disease so far, adding that 475 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery.
“Life comes first. The Chinese Government is committed to safeguarding the safety and health of the Chinese people. We will, in a responsible manner, safeguard the safety of every foreign national in China, including the Nigerian expatriates and address their legitimate concerns in a timely manner. We will continue to strengthen communication and coordination with the international community and work hard in hand for epidemic prevention and control,” Pingjian said.
Notwithstanding, Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NiDO), East China Chapter and the Association of Nigerians in Wuhan, have called for the immediate evacuation of Nigerians resident in Wuhan, China.
NiDO East China and the Association of Nigerians in Wuhan also disclosed that 65 Nigerians, including children, reside in Wuhan, the epicentre of Coronavirus.
The groups made the call in a statement jointly signed by Elijah Odii and Bem Shadrach, president and general secretary respectively, NiDO East China and the Acting President, Association of Nigerians in Wuhan, Okoye Chiamaka.
In the statement entitled: ‘A Desperate Call from Wuhan, the Epicentre of the Novel Coronavirus 2019 Outbreak,’ the groups said the desire for evacuation has been their position since they began engagements with the Embassy of Nigeria in Beijing.
As part of efforts to strengthen preparedness and reduce the risk of importation of the deadly Coronavirus into Lagos, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu yesterday activated an incident command structure to monitor report and make daily important decisions on the evolving trends of the deadly infectious disease.
Sanwo-Olu in a statement noted that the declaration of the disease as a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has heightened the State concern on the spread of the virus adding that this is what necessitated the activation of the incident command centre.