Ethiopian Students Request Help Getting Out of Wuhan City in China

By Staff Reporter

CoronaVirusFebruary 7, 2020 ( -- Ethiopian students in Wuhan city, which is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China, have requested the Ethiopian government to help them come home. Wuhan is the sprawling capital of Central China’s Hubei province.

In the questionnaire dispatched to them, out of the over 300 Ethiopian students currently in Wuhan city, 95 percent of them wanted to return home, the Ethiopian Students Union in Wuhan has said.

The students’ request comes after neighboring Kenya announced preparation to evacuate its citizens from China, where the Coronavirus outbreak has claimed over 400 people.

The Union’s president Zahara Abdulahi said out of the 95 percent of students who wanted to come home, 41 percent of them would like the government to cover their return fares while the remaining want the government only to facilitate their return.

Earlier last week, the students submitted a petition requesting the Ethiopian Embassy in China to help them return home but their request gained momentum in the following days as the virus spread fast.

“The students are experiencing extreme anxiety as more people died who were infected by the disease caused by the coronavirus, Zahara said.

Coronavirus was confirmed in the Chinese city on January 7, 2020. Cases have since been reported in several Asian countries, Europe and the United States.

The World Health Organization, WHO, has declared it a public health emergency of international dimensions. WHO chief Tedros Ghebereyesus said whiles China had a robust health system to detect and control, he remains concerned about the virus entering other countries with weak healthcare systems.

The Ethiopian Embassy in China said it was examining the students’ request for repatriation but Zahara accuses the embassy of failing to give a swift response.  

Almost all African governments have put strict screening at points of entry, especially airports. Ivory Coast, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Botswana have recorded suspected cases. All except Botswana have reported that the tests were negative. African airlines have canceled scheduled flights to China except for Ethiopian Airlines.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia announced that all passengers arriving from Wuhan will be quarantined as part of preventive measures against the coronavirus outbreak. In a briefing on Friday, the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) announced the decision even though it affects all passengers arriving at Bole International Airport.

Ethiopia has identified 11 suspected cases of the virus so far but eight of them have been declared negative. The remaining three are to be sent to South Africa for further examination, the institute disclosed.

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