ZAMBIA may consider evacuating its university students studying in China following the coronavirus outbreak, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) reported.
Secretary to Cabinet Simon Miti told the public broadcaster that evacuating the students would be subject to expert advice and World Health Organisation (WHO) status reports.
Miti said the government was aware of the need to take precautions to avoid infection during evacuation and in transit if evacuations were undertaken.
He said the country’s students were safe and the government would continue to monitor the situation closely.
He added that the state had put in place ‘high-impact interventions’ to protect citizens from contracting the virus at home and abroad. Among the measures was procurement and distribution of masks, food and other supplies for the students.
Zambia is one of 13 African countries identified by the WHO as needing to be particularly vigilant of the virus given their direct links or high volume of travel to China. The other countries are Algeria, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
The WHO said that no new countries had reported cases of the virus over the past 24 hours, as of Wednesday.
According to the latest figures from the WHO, 45 171 coronavirus case had been confirmed globally, the majority in China. To date, 1 114 people have died of the virus, the majority of them also in China.