By Uche Bibilari
The Chinese Embassy in Nigeria said on Tuesday that it had not stopped the issuance of visas to Nigerians wishing to travel to China.
The Embassy’s Press Officer, Mr Sun Sai Xiong, made this clarification in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Sun added that the Embassy had also not suspended its operation as earlier reported.
He reiterated the Chinese government’s commitment to safeguarding the lives of Nigerians and other nationals living in that country in the face of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the Asian country.
Briefing newsmen on the coronavirus situation in that country on Monday, the embassy had said that effective measures to contain the scourge had been adopted.
Mr Zhou Pingjian, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nigeria, told newsmen that China had taken the most comprehensive, rigorous containment and mitigation measures beyond the requirements of International Health Regulations, to prevent a further spread of the virus.
Zhou said that by such measures, China was not only safeguarding the health of its people, but also that of other people around the world.
According to him, checking the spread of the coronavirus disease is a common concern of the international community.
“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 prevention and control of the epidemic,’’ he said.
He also advised other countries to adopt a responsible attitude, work together to combat the virus, and avoid overreaction that might result in more negative spillover effects.
He added that a total of 60 Nigerians were living in Wuhan city where the virus broke out from, adding that no Nigerian in China had been infected.
Zhou said that the authorities were maintaining regular communication with them in case of any need for assistance. (NAN)