KAMPALA — China’s stringent COVID-19 preventive measures should be observed by all, including locals and foreigners, to avoid a resurgence of the pandemic in China, a Ugandan expatriate living in China’s southern metropolis of Guangzhou told Xinhua on Sunday.
The Ugandan businessman, who only identified himself as Richard, is currently under quarantine at his home in Guangzhou.
Richard said he has noticed reports that one Nigerian national who tested positive for COVID-19 assaulted a nurse who was treating him, and the news went viral.
“I guess this worried the authorities that another outbreak would emerge hence the decision to test all of us. However, since not every African has a registered address where they could be found, tested and quarantined, it proved a challenge for the authorities,” said Richard, who has been doing business in China since 2005.
Guangzhou had reported a total of 119 imported cases of the novel coronavirus disease as of midnight Saturday, according to Guangzhou Mayor Wen Guohui at a press conference on Sunday.
Of the 119 imported cases, 25 are foreign nationals and 94 are Chinese nationals. Of the 25 foreign patients, 19 are from Africa, accounting for 76 percent of the total, said Wen.
In one of the meetings involving community leaders from African countries and Chinese security, foreign affairs authorities and officials from the center for disease control, Chinese officials urged the community leaders to encourage their members to take part in COVID-19 tests, Richard told Xinhua
Richard said there are different categories of foreigners. The first category includes those with a permanent address and registered with the jurisdictional police. These people have been contacted by phone and given an appointment by the local authorities on when to be tested.
The second category includes foreigners with valid visas but without a permanent residential address. These people were taken to hotels designated by government to be tested and quarantined, he said.
The third category includes people who don’t have a valid visa and have not registered with the local authorities, said Richard.
“These people are hard to find and I hear that their landlords were contacted by the authorities and asked to report them to the authorities,” he said, noting that this is the category of people who are showing on the streets.
“There were no forced tests, those are lies. No one in our communities has reported anything like forced test,” he said.
He noted that Africans back in Africa should be wary of fake information that is all over social media, noting that most of it is intended to tarnish China.
“Our responsibility as Africans in China is, first we have to understand the culture of the Chinese people, understand how to interpret their actions and understand that the number one priority of the Chinese nation is the safety of its people and all those that live in it regardless of where they come from,” he said.
He noted that the focus should be put on fighting the common enemy, COVID-19.
“Chinese people have endured more than two months of quarantine and a foreigner is complaining about 14 days. We all have a collective responsibility,” said Richard.
“Let’s all comply with the measures taken by the government. It’s our responsibility to keep a healthy relationship between our countries and not spread rumors to incite the people back home against our host country,” he noted.
In a meeting with more than 20 ambassadors and representatives from African nations on Monday, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong expressed his hope that these diplomats will proceed from the overall China-Africa friendship and the current anti-epidemic situation in China and the world, understand China’s policies and measures accurately, explain the truth to their countries objectively and comprehensively, and promote a comprehensive and rational understanding of the matter in their governments and people.
In response, ambassadors and representatives from African countries said that they would work with China to urge and guide their expatriates to follow Chinese laws and cooperate with the Chinese side in epidemic prevention and control.
Faced with COVID-19, an abrupt global public health crisis, all countries are taking containment measures to prevent the pandemic from spreading further, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Sunday when commenting on China’s Guangdong Province’s anti-pandemic measures concerning African citizens in China.
“While overcoming difficulties at home, we also give love and care to all African citizens in China, especially African students,” he said.
“All foreigners are treated equally. We reject differential treatment, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination,” the spokesperson noted.
Since the outbreak, the Guangdong provincial
government has attached high importance to the treatment of foreign patients, including African nationals, and has saved the lives of a number African patients in severe or critical condition in the process.
The measures taken include providing health management services without differentiation, designating hotels for foreigners required to undergo medical observation, setting up effective communication mechanisms with foreign consulates-general in Guangzhou, and rejecting all racist and discriminatory remarks.
“African friends can count on getting fair, just, cordial and friendly reception in China,” Zhao said.
The pandemic is a challenge to all humankind, and can only be defeated through concerted international efforts, he said, calling for “mutual understanding, mutual support and cooperation” and stressing China is “ready to continue working with African friends to achieve the final victory.”