Nigerians in China have accused the House of Representatives of trivialising the ordeal of over 60 citizens stranded in the city of Wuhan, which had been hit by coronavirus.
While faulting the 20,000 Yuan (about N1m) donated to the stranded persons by the Nigerian Ambassador to China, Ahmed Jidda, they expressed gratitude to the government and citizens of the Peoples Republic of China for their concerted efforts to ensure that everybody in the virus-hit areas was taken care of, irrespective of their nationality or religion.
“It is imperative that the international community fully collaborates with the Chinese government to ensure that this challenge is resolved as soon as possible”, they pleaded.
A Nigerian in China, Nnamdi Onwuka, stated these in an e-mail sent exclusively to The PUNCH on Sunday. It was entitled, ‘Don’t trivalise our situation.’
He said, “The Nigerian community in China has expressed shock and disappointment in the members of House of Representatives for trivialising the ordeal of over 60 Nigerians stranded in the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China following a motion by one of the lawmakers calling for necessary actions by the Federal Government to ensure that those Nigerians returned to their fatherland.
“It is unfortunate that rather than attracting a sober reflection and robust deliberation from the lawmakers, the motion became object of mockery by those who swore to an oath to ensure that their official conducts were in the best interest of Nigerians.
“That video clips of that ‘show of shame’ in the legislative chamber has gone viral here (in China) and Nigerians have become objects of jokes by citizens of other countries who could not fathom why responsible legislators would make mockery of such a well-conceived motion, even as other nations, including Kenya have taken steps to remove their citizens from Wuhan.”
He added, “We reiterate our call for the immediate evacuation of our compatriots in Wuhan as government officials have repeatedly told the world that Nigeria has the resources to quarantine returnees as it did during the outbreak of Ebola.
“While we appreciate the Nigerian ambassador to China, Ahmed Jidda, for the donation of 20,000 Yuan (approximately N1m) to Nigerians trapped in Wuhan, it is the considered view of Nigerian community that such piecemeal gestures though helpful, is not a long-term solution to the crisis.”
In Lagos, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said on Sunday the level of preparedness of Lagos State would help to contain the disease outbreaks in the country.
Ehanire made the comment during a visit to the Federal Central Medical Store, Oshodi and the Lagos Biobank, Yaba.
He said, “I can say that Lagos is very prepared with a high level of readiness and awareness coupled with competent health personnel available. A lot of lessons have been learnt from the Ebola outbreak of 2014, so I’m confident that Lagos is ready. They have the highest volume of air travel, the preparedness in Lagos is more important than anywhere else in the country.”
The Minister while responding to the global shortage of protective equipment for medical personnel, said, “We have a good stock here in Nigeria and we have received money from the government to purchase and procure more.”
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said the state government was watching China closely and their way of handling the coronavirus situation.
“We are ready in Lagos and if anything comes, we have got the facility, trained staff, a robust surveillance system in the state. We are now supporting the Federal Government with staff at the ports, just to ensure that anybody coming to Nigeria through Lagos goes for a thorough screening process and even if they get through the airport, we will still be following them up for 14 days at home if they have travelled from the country that has possible transmission of the virus,” Abayomi said.
Chinese govt confirms 811 deaths, 37,198 cases
Meanwhile, the Chinese government said on Sunday it had received reports of 37,198 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 811 deaths on the Chinese mainland, with 2,649 patients cured and discharged.
Chinese gave the latest update through its National Health Commission, according to a newsletter from the Embassy of China in Nigeria.
The commission noted that 189,660 persons were under medical observation, “having had a close contact with infected patients.”
The Chinese NHC report read, As of February 8, the National Health Commission received 37,198 reports of confirmed cases and 811 deaths on the Chinese mainland; and in all, 2,649 patients had been cured and discharged from hospital. There still remained 28,942 suspected cases.
“So far, 189,660 are now under medical observation, who have been identified as having had close contact with infected patients.”
In the statement by the Chinese Press Officer, Sun Saixiong, it was noted that there had been global health disasters in the past, which were taken care of and it was improper for anyone to “demonise a Chinese person” because of the virus.
“Ebola outbreak in West Africa Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and little in Nigeria and Mali in 2013 with fatality rate of 40 per cent and total deaths of 28,616; If the world had seen disasters and stood with the affected countries, not declaring citizens of the countries outcasts from the rest of humanity, why demonise the Chinese over coronavirus? Let’s stand with humanity like ever before by standing with China, especially the Chinese person,” the statement read.
Submit yourselves on arrival, Ebonyi tells Chinese nationals
Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, has directed that all Chinese nationals working in various construction sites should submit themselves for medical examination on arrival in Ebonyi.
Umahi gave the directive in a communiqué issued by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Kenneth Ugbala, after an Executive Council meeting on Friday.
The communique read in part, “The Government of Ebonyi State, under the leadership of David Nweze Umahi FNSE, is always committed to the safety of Ebonyians in security, health and well-being.
“The governor observed that there is lack of awareness on the outbreak of some of the above-listed communicable diseases in the state. To strengthen the awareness and ensure the safety of Ebonyians, the governor directed as follows:
“That the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Grants and Donor Agencies should immediately liaise with health officers at the local government areas and development centres to increase the awareness on Lassa fever.”
It added, “That LGAs’ chairmen in the state, DC coordinators, traditional rulers, councillors and town union presidents are to profile and provide a comprehensive data of all the Chinese people residing in their locality to Ebonyi State Government on or before Wednesday as the state government will meet with all Chinese nationals in the state on Wednesday, February 12, 2020.
“That all returning Chinese must submit to medical examination and not to be allowed to work until after 14 days from their arrival date to ensure that they are safe from the communicable disease.
“That a major campaign and awareness creation for the communicable disease across the 140 autonomous communities in Ebonyi State, which will take place thrice in the month of February and March and twice subsequently, should be embarked upon. The campaign will involve all the LGAs’ chairmen, DCs’ coordinators, town union presidents, media, councillors, security/health workers and traditional rulers.”