No fewer than 65 Nigerians are currently stranded in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the novel Coronavirus outbreak in China, as their demand to be evacuated by the Nigerian government has been underplayed, THISDAY can authoritatively reveal.
This is even as the outbreak has claimed 492 lives, with 24,552 confirmed cases and 23,260 suspected cases. 900 persons have recovered from the virus, while at least 3, 219 are currently in critical conditions.
However, BMGF has commit $100 million for the global response of the virus.
In a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday, it said the funding will help strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations; and develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics.
The CEO, BMGF, Mark Suzman, who said the new funding was inclusive of $10 million the foundation committed to the outbreak in late January, added that multilateral organisations, national governments, the private sector and philanthropies must work together to slow the pace of the outbreak.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said in the last 24 hours, it has recorded the most cases in a single day since the outbreak started mid-December. This is even as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $100 million to support the fight against the disease.
Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview with THISDAY yesterday, one of the 65 Nigerians living in Wuhan, Mr. Ayodeji Adetunji Idowu said they have made a couple of demands to the federal government, and one of them was for the citizens there to be evacuated, just as other countries have done for their nationals living in the city.
"But what we have heard so far from the Nigerian government is that they are studying the situation. We are running out of essential supplies, and many Nigerians here no longer have money because they cannot go out to work since the city is on total lockdown.
"Our optimism that the Nigerian government will yield to our request to be evacuated is beginning to dim. Nigerians here are feeling helpless because there is no concrete response yet from our government," he said.
Idowu is the Managing Partner, STAR Consulting Limited; a business consulting company operating in Wuhan, China and in Lagos.
He said: "Right now, we are all stuck. Foreigners who may want to travel out of Wuhan to their countries would require diplomatic support to leave because there are no commercial means to travel; rail, air and road travels inbound and outbound have been temporarily stopped by the Chinese government."