Amb. Zhuo Pingjian, Ambassador of China to Nigeria, on Tuesday reaffirmed the country’s commitment to ensure the well-being of Nigerian students and other foreign nationals in China.
Zhuo said this at the meeting with stakeholders of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, China Alumni Association of Nigeria and Parents of Nigerian students in China, which held in Abuja.
He extolled the Federal Government for standing by China in difficult times, saying the COVID-19 has come and would go, the outbreak is just temporary but friendship and cooperation are forever.
According to him, the Chinese government attaches great importance to the safety and well-being of foreign nationals, including foreign students.
Zhuo said, “The Foreign Ministry has directed relevant local departments to take the protection of foreign nationals in China as a high priority and to work hard to address difficulties.
“Please be assured that we will take all necessary and effective measures to protect the health and safety of Nigerian students in China.
“We have enhanced information disclosure; local departs have kept foreign nationals informed in an open and transparent way via websites, WeChat, Weibo and e-mail.
“Posting on the epidemic situation through public letters; releasing information on self-protection, opening 24-hour multilingual hotlines.
“The host provinces and municipalities of consular missions have held news briefing or video conferences to share updates on the latest development of the epidemic and answer questions.”
He said as at Feb, 19, 29 foreign nationals were diagnosed with COVID-19; 10 in Hubei province, 18 recovered and discharged cases, two deaths and nine cases under treatment in isolation.
He further noted that that there were no reported cases of Nigerian being diagnosed with COVID-19 in China.
He also said that there are 5400-plus international students in Hubei province, including 50 Nigerian students in Wuhan, saying all the Universities had taken measures to contain outbreak of the disease.
Speaking at the event, Mrs Aisha Dewa, Assistant-Director Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commended Chinese government for efforts been made to arrest issues about coronavirus.
She said that Nigeria stands with China in the difficult challenge and assured of plans by government to assist China arrest of the situation.
According to her China cannot solve the problem alone because it is a global issue; we will do everything humanly possible to partner with China and address this situation.
“Nigerian Embassy in China had been in touch with Nigerian students and other Nigerians, and encouraged them to adhere to safety guidelines by Wuhan regional government and central government of China.
“We are pleased Nigerians in that country are really cooperating and taking instruction from the embassy and the embassy is doing its best within limited resources it has to assist them.
“We confirm that we have not received any case involving Nigerian with the virus, which is good news,” Dewa said.
He observed Nigerians in that country had called for government intervention to be evacuated, but said that such measure should be considered a last option based-on efforts to tackle the situation.
Also speaking, Dr Morenike, Alex-Okoh, Director Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health, said that ministry is putting measures on ground to prevent the disease.
“COVID-19 is now in 39 countries, so Nigeria is strengthening preparedness to prevent importation and mount adequate response, should it come here.
“I believe that for Nigerian in China, as long as they abide by the public health measures and the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, they will be protected,” Alex-Okoh said.
In his remark, Mr Muhammad Sulaiman, President of Chinese Alumni Association, promised to continue to assist Nigerian students, to promote their safety and health of Nigerian expatriates in that country.
“It is in solidarity with the students in affected areas that we pledge N600, 000, which will be delivered through the proper channel.
“This is as support to alleviate the hardship currently being experienced by Nigerian students living in the affected areas of Wuhan and its environs,” Sulaiman said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the high point of the event was the presentation of the Bank cash-cheque of N600, 000 by the Association’s executive to the envoy.