Coronavirus: Chinese tourists banned

31 January 2020 | Health

All tourist arrivals from China to Namibia have been discontinued, while all Chinese nationals who were already in the country will be strictly monitored for any symptoms of the coronavirus strain that has already claimed over 100 lives and infected thousands.

Chinese nationals working in Namibia who are currently visiting their native land have been advised to postpone their return.

Chinese citizens who have already returned to Namibia must stay at home for at least 14 days and isolate themselves. The incubation period of the virus is 14 days. According to Chinese ambassador Zhang Yiming there are 4 000 Chinese currently employed in Namibia. About 2 000 work for state-owned enterprises, while the rest have businesses in the country. The Chinese embassy has also met with Chinese travel agencies in Namibia to warn them to strictly adhere to the ban that all travel tours out of Namibia should be temporarily halted. According to Zhang, there are currently 25 Chinese travel groups, some 300 tourists, in Namibia, with the last group expected to leave tomorrow.

“The travel agencies have been instructed to monitor each tourist closely for any symptoms and report this to the embassy.”

Commenting on Chinese citizens working in Namibia, Zhang said some of them are still in China for the annual Spring Festival that ends on 8 February. These citizens were advised to stay in China for now.

“Very few Chinese have returned from their holidays. We are in the process of contacting and advising those citizens to stay home and isolate themselves for 14 days (the incubation period). We will monitor everyone to make sure nobody brings anything into Namibia. “

According to Zhang, the embassy is in close contact with the health ministry.

“We do not want to see any suspicious cases in Namibia, it will be a major threat and challenge.”

According to Zhang there are 500 Namibians working and studying in China. According to him, 35 students are currently quarantined in the epicentre of the outbreak in Wuhan. According to him, World Health Organisation (WHO) experts have recommend the evacuation of foreigners in China.

He particularly encouraged students in Wuhan to stay in their apartments or residences. Students currently on vacation in Namibia are advised not to return to China at least until 17 February. All universities and schools are currently closed.

“China is trying its best to ensure the safety of all residents, not just Chinese.”

Zhang also referred to Chinese nationals in Namibia who are wearing masks, saying it doesn't mean they already have the virus.

“It just means they know the severity of the disease.”

Henriette Lamprecht