Namibian Students Trapped in Wuhan

Airport workers wear face masks at China's Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (file photo).
27 January 2020

Over 35 Namibian students are trapped in Wuhan after the Chinese city was locked down to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The Namibian Ambassador to China, Elia Kaiyamo, has advised Namibians to stay indoors and take the precautions Chinese health authorities are prescribing against the coronavirus that has killed 56 people by late yesterday.

China is describing the new virus as a type of coronavirus that causes pneumonia.

The first case came to light less than four weeks ago. As of yesterday, almost 2 000 people have been infected across China, the bulk of them in and around Wuhan.

Nearly all of those who died were in the Wuhan region, but officials have confirmed at least four deaths elsewhere.

People with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly, are the most likely to fall victim to the virus.

"As it stands, we have about 35 - 40 students residing in Wuhan where the virus started, but no Namibian is affected yet. We have about 473 Namibians in China but at the moment, they are all safe," said Kaiyamo yesterday. Namibian Students Association in China president Junias Haufiku, who is based in Wuhan, told this publication the situation "is very intense".

"Students have been indoors, as advised by the health professionals, for about a week now; they are running out of food, seeing that most markets are on lockdown - all means of transportation are currently on standstill," he said.

"We are as well saying there is a vast need of masks, which are currently bought out in most shops already and those who have them in stock have overpriced them. All in all, there is a little panic among the students but no signs of the virus in any of our students."

Meanwhile, the city of Macau, a gambling hub hugely popular with mainland tourists, has confirmed five cases as of yesterday. In Hong Kong, six people are known to have the disease. Of those, five arrived via a newly built high-speed train terminal that connects with the mainland.

There are three known cases of the coronavirus in France, the first European country to be affected by the outbreak. One person is sick in Bordeaux and another is ill in Paris. A third person, who is a close relative of one of the other two, has also been confirmed to have the virus.

All three had recently travelled to China and have now been placed in isolation.

Japan's health authorities confirmed the country's third case on Saturday. One man was hospitalised on 10 January, four days after his return from a visit to Wuhan.

Two people from the Chinese city - a man in his 40s and a woman in her 30s - have been treated in hospital for fever. Australia confirmed its first four cases of the virus on Saturday.

One man in Melbourne and three men in Sydney tested positive and are being treated in hospital isolation units after arriving in the country from Wuhan.

Authorities said they were contacting people who had travelled on the same planes from China and are offering advice.

The US has confirmed three cases of the virus in patients who had recently entered the country from Wuhan.

A man aged in his 30s reported himself to authorities on 19 January after returning to his home near Seattle.

On Friday, public health authorities said the virus had been detected in a Chicago woman in her 60s - and on Saturday, a traveller from Wuhan in California was confirmed as the third infected person on US soil. All patients were quarantined in hospitals and had responded to treatment, health officials said.

Canada said Saturday it had identified its first "presumptive" case of the virus in a man who returned to Toronto from Wuhan. The patient is aged in his 50s and has been placed in isolation.

-Additional reporting by Nampa/AFP

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: New Era

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.