The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Nigeria has clarified reports that it has stopped issuing visas to Nigerians.
It said it only advised Nigerians planning to travel to China to shelve the plan for now and did not stop issuing visas to Nigerians as claimed in some sections of the media.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported on Monday that Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian advised Nigerians planning to travel to China to suspend their plans pending when the spread of the virus would be contained.
The ambassador while briefing newsmen on the coronavirus outbreak in his country and the measures put in place to contain the scourge, had reiterated China’s commitment to safeguarding the lives of Nigerians and other nationals living in that country.
According to Zhou, checking the spread of the coronavirus is a common concern of the international community.
“Life comes first. The Chinese government is committed to safeguarding the lives and health of the Chinese people.
“We will, in a responsible manner, safeguard the life of every foreign national in China and address their legitimate concerns in a timely manner.
“We will continue to strengthen communication and coordination with the international community and work hand in hand for the epidemic prevention and control,” he said.
Some news platforms had reported that China has placed a visa ban on Nigeria.
However, the Press Officer of the Embassy of China, Sun Saixiong, while debunking the report explained on Tuesday that the Ambassador only advised those who wished to travel to China “not to be in a rush if the trip was not urgent.”
The diplomat said the government had reached out to about 60 Nigerians living in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
He said China had taken the most comprehensive, rigorous containment, and mitigation measures beyond the requirements of international health regulations.
He said by such measures China was not only protecting the health of its people but also that of the people around the world.