China helping Tongans as coronavirus spreads

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Nuku’alofa – February 3, 2020: 6.15pm (Nuku’alofa Times): The Chinese government is helping Tongans who are still stranded in China as the coronavirus spreads.

China’s ambassador to Tonga Cao Xiaolin said this during a media briefing on the ‘Prevention and Control of the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Outbreak in China’ at the embassy office in Fasi this afternoon.

“China attaches great importance to the safety and health of all the foreign citizens in China, including Tongan citizens,” Mr Xiaolin said.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China has established an emergency coordinating mechanism to work closely with foreign missions in China to deal with foreign affairs caused by the epidemic. Up till now, we haven’t got any report on confirmed cases of foreign citizens, not to mention Tongans.

He said there are now four groups of young athletes in different provinces in China and seven (7) students in Wuhan.

“All of them are being taken good care of. The athletic training programs are conducted in a relatively closed environment, so it is quite unlikely for the athletes to get infected given the limited contact with local communities,” he said.

“The host of the athletic training program has done every effort to protect the athletes’ safety and health. The Universities in Wuhan have also conducted measures to help prevent the disease.

“They educate the student how to avoid getting infected, help them check their health conditions everyday, keep their domitory clean, provide masks and disinfectants to them. The school canteens and supermarkets are open normally, so the students’ everyday livelihood necesities can be well guanranteed. Teachers work on shifts in every Universities. If students have any difficulties, they can turn to their teachers for help at any time.”

Mr Xiaolin said that based on the calm and scientific estimation of the current situation, the Chinese Government believes it is not necessary to conduct massive evacuation of foreign nationals from China.

However, China will also respect other countries’ decision on evacuating their citizens from China and will render necessary assistance in accordance with international conventions.

“The Embassy will work closely with the Tongan Ministry of Foreign Affairs,Ministry of Health,Ministry of Education and Ministry of Internal Affairs to ensure the safety and health of the Tongan athletes and students in China,” he said.

Mr Xiaolin said that the Embassy here has been liasing closely with the Ministry of Health of Tonga and other relevant ministries, and conducted information sharing about the ongoing situation and Tongan citizens in China.

“On 30th January, upon the request of the Hon. Health Minister, the Embassy donated TOP40,000 to the Ministry of Health immediately to help the ministry improve its prevention and control capacity. The Chinese Government and Chinese Embassy are willing to work closely with Tongan Government and Tongan Embassy in China to safeguard the well-being of the Tongan citizens in China and jointly fight against the novel coronavirus,” he added..

The confirmed cases in China has risen to 14,512 by yesterday, with 304 deaths.

The total number of confirmed case in other 15 countries is 147 with 1 dead in the Philippines.

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