The Government has advised Zambians on short term visits to China to register their presence with the Embassy in Beijing and the Consulate in Guangzhou.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Malanji said the Zambians currently in China or those planning to travel should identify the nearest point of registration in order for the Mission to take stock of nationals on short-term stay.
Mr Malanji said the Government is aware of the 200 students in Wuhan City in Hubei Province, the epicenter of the outbreak, and that the Mission in Beijing has continued to reach out to the Zambian community through dissemination of valuable information on precautionary measures to be taken.
“We have about 4,000 students studying in China spread across 30 cities both on Government to Government and private sponsorship. In this particular situation we have 200 students who are in Wuhan City. The Government has continued to offer support, disseminate information, advising students on movements and other precautionary measures that they need to take in the wake of the outbreak of the disease,” Hon. Malanji said.
The Minister advised the Zambian students that are currently on vacation to stay in touch with their universities and the Zambian Embassy in Beijing regarding the fresh opening dates considering that the spring semester has been postponed until further notice.
He noted that no Zambian had been affected by the coronavirus.
“We are lucky that was the period when the people were having their new year, a good number of students are here in Zambia,” he said. “To those in China, our Mission is working effectively disseminating information on how their movements should be and the measures to take to prevent infection.”
Mr Malanji said Zambia is currently not considering the evacuation of its nationals and is confident that the Government of China is doing everything possible to stem the tide of further infections.
“This is a disease that requires proper diagnosis and considering that this is something that China has handled before, the country is more advanced to handle outbreaks of such a nature. We do not have a case in China attached to a Zambian national and we pray that this of course does not directly affect us,” said Hon. Malanji.
The Chinese Government has assured that the outbreak is manageable and therefore there is no need for evacuation of foreigners from China. Further, foreign envoys have been assured of support from provincial governments to their nationals in case of emergencies. In this regard, the authorities have provided hotlines for any emergency that may arise among foreigners in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei Province. The Zambian Mission has since shared the hotlines with the students along with relevant contacts of Zambian Mission staff.
Since December 2019, China has been hit by the flu-causing virus identified as Coronavirus that has claimed 170 lives, with 7,711 confirmed cases of pneumonia as of 30th January, 2020, according to Chinese Health authorities.