coronavirus first patient

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Chinese nationals ‘self-quarantined’ in Namibia amid Coronavirus fears

206 returning Chinese nationals have been asked to go into ‘self-quarantine’ in Namibia to reduce threat of Coronavirus spread.

coronavirus first patient

Image via Adobe Stock

 Chinese nationals based in Namibia have been placed under self-quarantine as a precautionary measure as the southern African nation strengthens measures to keep out the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) which has infected more than 93 000 people globally. 

The Namibian newspaper reported that about 206 Chinese nationals had returned to Namibia since January 15 following visits to China. 

Ninety-six of them are reportedly employed in state-owned enterprises in Namibia, while 110 work for private entities. 

‘Cannot allow Covid-19 spread’

The Chinese ambassador to Namibia, Zhang Yiming, emphasised that the self-quarantine instructions were in place to ensure the safety of Namibians.

“I cannot allow any one single Chinese national who might be infected, if he knows and comes back to Namibia [to] just then transmit this virus. That would be a disaster. So zero imported infection cases is the one target not only for me [but] for the Namibian government,” Zhang told the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation. 

In South Africa, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints) facilitating the repatriation of South African citizens from the Chinese city of Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak – said on Thursday it had secured an aircraft for the evacuation. 

“The aircraft with the capacity to bring back the citizens in Wuhan has been secured. An interdisciplinary team of relevant departments including health, home affairs, social development and defence will form part of the repatriation team from China to South Africa,” government spokesperson Phumla Williams said in a statement. 

“They will be working with the Chinese authorities to screen the group of South Africans before they depart the epicentre of Wuhan. With the support of the South African embassy in China, a ground transport plan is being put in place to ensure that all citizens who are to be evacuated are safely brought to a central collection point from where they will [be] transported home.” 

Department of Health monitoring situation

Williams reiterated that there were no reported cases of the virus in South Africa, adding that the department of health was continuing to monitor the situation closely and had put plans in place to deal with any possible infections. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa last month announced the plans to repatriate South Africans from Wuhan who had requested assistance to return home. They had been in lockdown since the outbreak was first confirmed. 

The Chinese embassy in Pretoria said South Africa’s decision to evacuate citizens was an “understandable” one to address the anxiety and concern of its citizens and families resulting from over one month of quarantine “in a city far away from their motherland”.

– African News Agency; Editing by Desiree Erasmus