By Adedapo Adesanya
The Chinese Embassy in Nigeria has suspended the issuance of visas to Nigerians who want to visit the country as a result of the coronavirus which has continued to plagued the Asian country.
With over 20,000 people infected and 427 deaths confirmed and spreading to 28 countries, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nigeria, Mr Zhou Pingjian, on Monday said the embassy has stopped the issuance of visas to Nigerians.
The ambassador revealed that the preventive measure was to ensure that the well-being of the health of other nationals visiting China. He said his government has taken the measure to protect them.
“Life comes first. The Chinese Government is committed to safeguarding the lives and health of the Chinese people.
“We will, in a responsible manner, safeguard the life of every foreign national in China and address their legitimate concerns in a timely manner.
“We will continue to strengthen communication and coordination with the international community and work hand in hand for the epidemic prevention and control,” he said.
Speaking further, Mr Zhou advised on the course to adopt a responsible attitude, collaborative effort to combat the virus, and avoid overreaction that might result in panic and fear.
According to the Chinese Ambassador, a total of 60 Nigerians are domiciled in the city of Wuhan, where the virus broke out from, and clarified that no Nigerian citizen had been infected so far.
He said that the authorities from China were maintaining regular communication with them in case of any need for assistance.
He said that an increase in the number of deaths was recorded because of the newness of the virus, which had been subjected to research, adding that scientists were still working hard to come up with the cure for the treatment of the disease.
According to the ambassador, China has built a nationwide prevention and control system with special focus on Wuhan and Hubei. He also noted that a 1000-bed makeshift hospital was built in Wuhan within nine days to contain the virus.
He expressed appreciation to the Nigerian government for its show of support to the people of China.
On the part of the Nigerian government, citizens residing in China were urged to reach out to the country’s officials in the case of any emergency: Minister Consular and Immigration, Mr Austine Ekeayanwu, on his official telephone number – 15010266280; Minister/Political, Mrs Ayo Luther-Ogbomode – 13716244174; and Mr Lawal Bappah, Minister/Public Communication, on 13520156753.
There was also advice from the Nigerian government for its citizens to avoid crowded and closed areas and be wary of making close contact with people who might likely be carriers of the dreaded virus.
They were further urged to embark on routine health checks, maintain personal hygiene, and wear surgical masks when stepping out from their respective accommodations.
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