WINDHOEK – Chinese Ambassador to Namibia Zhang Yiming yesterday confirmed that a “few” Chinese nationals had returned to Namibia after the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, but appealed to Namibians to remain calm, reaffirming his country’s commitment to stop the virus from spreading.
Yesterday, Angolan health authorities reported a case of a Chinese citizen suspected of having coronavirus, who they said was hospitalised at the Girassol clinic in Luanda, the capital of Angola.
“I must admit we have a very few Chinese nationals who arrived in the country a few days ago – our embassy is busy contacting each one of them, we are demanding all of them to stay at home, isolate themselves, strictly at home for fourteen days and report to our embassy every day. We will make sure that no one carries this virus to this country,” said Zhang while addressing the media.
Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula said Chinese nationals who arrived back from China after the outbreak were subjected to screening on arrival at Hosea Kutako International Airport.
Also, he said the health ministry has a team of health professionals stationed at Hosea Kutako airport screening all international arrivals irrespective of their nationalities or country of origin.
Zhang further called on Namibians and the international community for support, saying that it is only through such support that China will be able to tackle the outbreak of the virus.
“We are a global village, we should support each other, either materially or emotionally,” Zhang said.
He said there are currently an estimated 6 000 Chinese nationals living in Namibia with the majority still in China celebrating the Chinese New Year, which is on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month of the Chinese calendar.
The festival lasts for about 23 days, ending on the 15th day of the first lunar month in the following year in the Chinese calendar.
“We have advised those who are still in China to stay there up until the virus is contained. China is serious in containing the virus, we don’t want the virus to spread to other continents,” asserted the Chinese ambassador.
But he confirmed that no Namibians in China are affected by the virus.
Zhang also advised Namibia against the evacuation of its about 400 students in Wuhan, saying that it is very dangerous at the moment to evacuate anyone from Wuhan that has been isolated from the rest of the world.
US Ambassador to Namibia Lisa Johnson on Wednesday during a courtesy call to President Hage Geingob at State House said her office is prepared to work with health authorities to respond to any outbreak of the coronavirus in the country.
In Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia and Angola confirmed cases of the virus were detected, prompting other African countries, including Namibia, to increase surveillance.
Coronavirus is part of a vast family of viruses that includes those that cause the common flu, but also Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The first symptoms are high fevers and cough, which can worsen to the extent of causing pneumonia.
The epicentre of the virus is the city of Wuhan, China, where it has claimed several lives. So far, 170 people have died from this disease and 7 711 cases have been confirmed, according to the latest reports published this Wednesday by the WHO.
In addition to China, Kenya, Ethiopia and Angola, cases of coronavirus infection have also been reported in Macau, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, the United States of America, Singapore, Vietnam, Nepal, Malaysia, France, Germany, Australia and Canada.
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2020-01-31 07:17:20 | 21 days ago