In response to widespread concerns by hordes of Namibian students studying in China who feel they have been abandoned by the government, international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has at this stage not recommended mass evacuations of foreign nationals from China.
The Chinese city went into lockdown three weeks ago following the outbreak of the deadly virus, which has so far claimed over 1 600 lives.
Nandi-Ndaitwah said there have been several inaccurate reports in the local media in recent weeks on Namibian students in China, in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
She announced there are currently 500 Namibians studying in China. Of these, 27 live in Wuhan, Hubei Province. According to her, it is with a sense of gratefulness that the ministry can state that none of the Namibian students have been infected or contracted the virus.
Equally, she maintained, Namibian authorities are in constant communication with international organisations such as the WHO to benchmark and coordinate their response with international best practice in terms of the virus response. “The government fully understands the concerns of the Namibian students in the People’s Republic of China, however, Namibia as a member of the WHO is expected to abide by the guidelines of the said world organisation, which has at this stage not recommended mass evacuations of foreign nationals from China,” she remarked. She noted the Namibian embassy in Beijing is working closely and in conjunction with the Hubei provincial government, constantly monitoring the situation. Further, she stated, the embassy, together with the provincial government, is in contact with the concerned students. As per measures taken by Chinese authorities, Nandi-Ndaitwah said movement outside the university campus is still restricted for all those residing on campuses of the various academic institutions. “These measures apply to all, regardless of nationality. The measures are being enforced, especially in light of the fact that face masks are not easily available due to high demand. Namibia appreciates the assistance provided by university authorities in Hubei, who have ensured that our students are provided with facemasks and food by delivering these items to the students’ doorsteps,” she indicated. Moreover, she announced, the Namibian government has established a national contingent committee on the coronavirus response to be able to respond effectively to any eventuality with respect to the disease. “The Namibian government understands the feelings of Namibian students in China as they are in a new situation. However, the government calls on them to continue cooperating with the Namibian embassy and the relevant Chinese authorities,” she pleaded.
2020-02-17 07:19:14 | 1 months ago