South Sudanese in China are safe, embassy says

Thursday January 30 2020

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Security personnel checks the temperature of people, in Beijing on January 26, 2020. The South Sudanese Embassy in China has said its nationals in the country are safe and are taking precautions to prevent infection with the coronavirus. PHOTO | NOEL CELIS | AFP 

By The EastAfrican

South Sudanese in Wuhan and Yichang cities in China are safe and so far none has been infected by the deadly coronavirus, the Embassy in China has said.

According to a statement seen by The East African on Thursday, there are 19 South Sudanese students in Wuhan and two in Yichang cities of Hubei province, the epicentre of the virus. The cities are currently on a lockdown to curb its spread.

“The embassy is in contact with them and all of them are in good health. The embassy is also in contact with South Sudan’s Students’ Union on the subject matter,” it states.

The embassy added that all South Sudanese in China are following safety and prevention measures introduced by the Chinese government.

In a press conference last week, South Sudan’s Ministry of Health said plans were underway to screen passengers at major entry points to prevent the entry of virus into the country.

“Vigilance should be maintained. The Ministry of Health has instituted measures to prevent, detect, respond to and mitigate the risk of importation of the virus into the country,” Dr. Riek Gai Kok, the minister of Health, said.

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe conditions such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

More than 7,000 people have been infected with the virus, according to China's National Health Commission, while at least 170 people have died from the virus which was first reported in Wuhan City on December 31, 2019.

Last week, WHO warned that all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread of the virus.

The signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

In more severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

To prevent the spread of the virus, authorities are encouraging the frequent cleaning of hands by using soap and water, covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoiding the consumption of raw or undercooked animal products.

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