While some countries in sub-Saharan Africa are finally taking steps to repatriate citizens from the coronavirus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan, health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula yesterday said Namibia would not evacuate its nationals.
“Namibia will not evacuate its nationals from China. We subscribe to the principle of limiting the risk of exportation or importation of the disease,” Shangula told New Era yesterday. Some African countries have already evacuated its citizens from China,
while South Africa on Sunday announced it was in the process of chartering an aircraft to bring citizens back home “under strict quarantine protocols”.
Namibian students in China have expressed their apprehension, fear and frustrations through the ‘WeChat group’ that was created after the outbreak of coronavirus in China.
Speaking in parliament recently, Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Itah Kandjii-Murangi said that there are about 463 Namibians in China and government is in constant communication with the students in conjunction with the Namibian embassy in China.
She said that to date no Namibian is reported to be infected by the virus since the outbreak was detected in that country. “The Namibian ambassador there has been very engaged and helpful by providing regular updates on the situation on the ground…. We are in constant contact with our ambassador to China on the health and living conditions of our students in that country,” Kandjii-Murangi told lawmakers recently.
Kandjii-Murangi added that according to the Namibian embassy in China there are approximately 500 Namibians studying and living in China. A total of 56 are funded by the Namibian Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) while the majority of them are privately sponsored.
“Due to complexities involved in dealing with a highly contagious airborne respiratory virus and considering that China is a densely populated country, the government’s efforts should be strategic,” said Kandjii-Murangi.
In order to curb the spread of this virus, the government of the People’s Republic of China has and continues to institute a number of preventative measures including recent countrywide lockdown. China is closely working with the World Health Organisation as well as with many countries with specialised programmes in the area of disease control, said the minister.
The disease has hit at least 70 countries, with 90 000 cases and 3 100 deaths. The vast majority of cases and deaths have been in China. While the number of new cases recorded daily in that epicentre country has declined for weeks, the virus continues to spread fast in South Korea, Iran and Italy, prompting increased travel warnings and restrictions.
Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia and Nigeria have all confirmed cases in the last couple of days.
2020-03-04 07:16:51 | 26 days ago