The first Seychellois students to be evacuated from China because of the threat from coronavirus are due to arrive home on Wednesday, an official said, following a government decision to return the students to the island nation.
That decision followed concerns expressed by parents on the continuing spread of the coronavirus. The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development with the Ministry of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs met with the students' parents on Monday.
Fifty-one Seychellois students are studying in China currently, out of which two are studying in Wuhan, the main area of the virus outbreak.
In a press communique after the meeting, the Ministry of Education said the evacuation will be carried out "on a priority basis, starting with the areas of most urgency which are Bejing and Shanghai."
"There are students coming back into the country as of tomorrow," Nadia Lauricourt, the chief executive of the Agency for National Human Resource Development (ANHRD), told SNA on Tuesday.
Upon arrival in Seychelles, the students will be screened for high body temperatures at the airport as any other passenger would be. Health officials will visit the students on a daily basis to check on their status and take action should any be required.
Negotiations are still ongoing for the two students in Wuhan as the city is still on lock down.
During the meeting, the Agency assured parents that it will continue to maintain direct contact with them and the students, as well as keep them informed of any new development.
The novel coronavirus, a new strain of the virus which has not been previously identified in humans, was identified in Wuhan, China in late December. According to the World Health Organisation's (WHO) report 7 on January 27, a total of 2,798 cases of Novel Coronavirus have been confirmed globally, 37 of which are outside of China.
An infected person suffering from the virus will have a fever, respiratory symptoms, cough, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
In an interview with the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), the mother of a student in Wuhan, Noella Ernesta, said that though negotiations are lengthy, answers given during the meeting gave her a bit of hope.
"My daughter's state of mind is 50-50 at the moment. She is still strong but the whole situation in Wuhan is not easy. She wants to come to Seychelles as the situation is getting worse," said Ernesta.