The House of Representatives on Tuesday rejected a call for the evacuation of Nigerians from China as coronavirus spreads from the country to other parts of the world.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Benjamin Kalu, had moved a motion praying that Nigerians stranded in China over the health crisis be brought back to their home country.
The lawmakers, however, voted against consideration of the motion.
Several efforts made by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, to make the lawmakers listen to the content of the motion proved abortive.
Meanwhile, China has placed visa restrictions on Nigerians pending when the Coronavirus ravaging the country was contained.
The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, on Monday said the embassy had stopped the issuance of visas to Nigerians.
The ambassador said China was concerned about the health of other nationals visiting China and has taken the measure to protect them.
“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 epidemic prevention and control,” 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.
“And 21,558 people were suspected of being infected in the Chinese mainland according to China’s National Health Commission.
“A total number of 361 people have died of the disease while 475 people had been discharged from hospital after recovery.”
He said that an increase in the number of deaths was recorded because of the newness of the virus, which had been subjected to research.
He added that scientists were still working hard to come up with the drug for the treatment of the disease.
According to the ambassador, China has built a nationwide prevention and control system with special focus on Wuhan and Hubei.
He said that a 1000-bed makeshift hospital was built in Wuhan within nine days in Wuhan to contain the virus.
Zhou expressed confidence that the country’s economy and trade cooperation with the world would remain strong.
He expressed appreciation to the Nigerian Government for its show of support to the people of China.