NEWS

Wuhan Coronavirus: No Rush To Evacuate Fijians In Wuhan City Says Fiji’s Minister Of Foreign Affairs

“Food and medical supplies will normalise and there is no need to panic and worry about the lives of Fijians in China being endangered” -  Ambassador Qian.
29 Jan 2020 12:51
Wuhan Coronavirus: No Rush To Evacuate Fijians In Wuhan City Says Fiji’s Minister Of Foreign Affairs
Some of the Fijians living in Wuhan, China.

There is no rush to evacuate Fijians living in Wuhan City, says Minister for Foreign Affairs Inia Seruiratu.

Wuhan is the Coronavirus-stricken Chinese city where the death toll surpasses 100 with thousands infected with the deadly virus.

Fijians living in Wuhan, which has been in lockdown since last week Thursday, have indicated that they were running low on protective gear, food stocks and necessities such as drinking water.

However, Mr Seruiratu said his ministry had received an updated report from Fiji’s Ambassador to China Manasa Tagicakibau who is in the Chinese capital, Beijing to attend a briefing.

“We do not want to rush into evacuation,” Mr Seruiratu said.

“There is no need to bring them home for now as we are liaising closely with the local authorities on the status of Fijians studying there.”

China’s Ambassador to Fiji Qian Bo said he was aware of plans by some foreign governments to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, adding that it was mentioned during his telephone conversation with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama a few days ago.

“What I can assure the Prime Minister and Fijian officials is that the Chinese Government will take care of all Fijian students and Navy officers in China.”

“If they want to move them it’s their decision, but I can assure you that we are in a position to take care of all our foreign friends.”

He said food and medical supplies would normalise and there was no need to panic and worry about the lives of Fijians in China being endangered.

The government of the United States of America (USA) was reported to have evacuated its diplomats, their families and a number of citizens in a chartered Boeing 767 flight from Wuhan yesterday.

Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt was quoted saying they are also working to repatriate their citizens and French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn confirmed that their citizens will be evacuated this week.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Monday that a chartered evacuation flight will take more than 400 Japanese citizens confirmed to be in Wuhan as soon as possible.

Media reports also indicate that Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka and Thailand are in talks with the Chinese Government to allow their citizens to leave, while several other countries including Britain, Germany and India are also considering evacuation options.

Spain is understood to be working in conjunction with the European Union to organise a joint repatriation flight for affected Europeans.

Papua New Guinea daily newspaper The National reported on Monday that more than 20 PNG students are requesting to be evacuated from Wuhan.

Edited by Percy Kean

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