Harare(New Ziana)- The Chinese embassy said on Thursday no Zimbabwean living in China had yet contracted the deadly coronavirus which broke out in the Asian country last December.
The viral disease, which first broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has claimed the lives of over 700 people in China, and infected tens of thousands others worldwide.
It has spread rapidly throughout the world, forcing the World Health Organisation to declare it a crisis requiring an urgent co-ordinated global response.
In Zimbabwe though, no one has so far been diagonised with coronavirus, but health authorities have pre-emptively placed over 700 recent returnees from China and other affected countries on a watch list.
Chinese deputy ambassador to Zimbabwe, Zhao Baogang said no Zimbabwean in China had contracted the disease either, and would be assisted urgently should this happen.
He was speaking after holding talks with Health and Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo and other ministry officials on Thursday.
“Zimbabwean nationals and students in China are safe, sound and well; taken good care of. We have not received any reports or complaints from Zimbabwean nationals and students in China,” he said.
“I also checked with some parents in Zimbabwe who have children in China and they have nothing to complain about,” Baogang said.
He said as part of mitigation measures to help Zimbabwe cope with the coronavirus in case of an outbreak, China will help the country to strengthen its health delivery systems, and was also discouraging Chinese nationals from traveling to Zimbabwe.
“We asked Chinese nationals in China to stop coming to Zimbabwe for the time being, for the safety of Zimbabweans. If they come to Zimbabwe now, they have to be self- quarantined for 14 days and in future we would also ask them to increase the duration to 21 days,” he said.
“We will help enhance the capacity of government and hospitals to deal with any issue if it arises,” Baogang said.
Moyo said although the number of people being monitored in Zimbabwe for coronavirus was increasing, no infection had yet been recorded in the country.
“They (people being monitored) are coming from affected countries in Asia and Europe. We are putting protocols in place to fully control the people who are coming to Zimbabwe,” he said.
“The message to say if you are coming to Zimbabwe, you will be self quarantined for 21 days will discourage travelers from coming here,” Moyo said.
He commended the Chinese embassy for offering to improve coronavirus isolation facilities Zimbabwe had designated in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.