Coronavirus | US Backs Africa In China Racism Saga; Beijing Begs, Vows Probe
-Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban, Daniel Mumbere
The coronavirus pandemic has been confirmed in over 180 countries globally since it was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, has since declared it a pandemic due to its spread. All except three African countries have recorded cases as governments roll out measures to combat the spread.
In this article, we will share the latest developments as authorities implement measures to contain the spread of the virus, especially on the African continent. Major stats as at April 13:
Major African stats as of April 14 as of 6 am GMT:
Confirmed cases = 15,346
Number of deaths = 835
Recoveries = 2,946
Infected countries = 52
Virus-free countries = 2 (Lesotho, Comoros)
April 14: US in Africa’s corner against Chinese racism
The United States has condemned reports of racist attacks on African nationals in the Chinese city of Guangzhou calling the videos and stories “appalling.”
America had over the weekend condemned the actions which it said targeted African Americans as well. In a tweet on Monday; a top Department of State official for Africa, Tibor Nagy, said Beijing needed to do more to stop the attacks.
“Videos and stories from #Guangzhou are appalling. Abuse and xenophobia has no place in our fight against this global pandemic. Chinese authorities must do more to stop these attacks against Africans living and working in China,” he posted on Twitter.
Earlier on Monday, the Chinese foreign ministry issued a statement admitting diplomatic protests from African governments but stressing that “All foreigners are treated equally. We reject differential treatment, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination.” They reiterated relations between Beijing and Africa and said a probe will be opened to ascertain the real facts and to remedy same.
The statement by the ministry’s spokesperson read in part: “During our fight against the coronavirus, the Chinese government has been attaching great importance to the life and health of foreign nationals in China. All foreigners are treated equally. We reject differential treatment, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination.
“Since the outbreak, the authorities in Guangdong attach high importance to the treatment of foreign patients, including African nationals.
“Specific plans and proper arrangements are made to protect their life and health to the best of our ability, thanks to which we were able to save the lives of some African patients in severe or critical conditions.
The concluding parts read: “The foreign ministry will stay in close communication with the Guangdong authorities and continue responding to the African side’s reasonable concerns and legitimate appeals.
“The virus knows no borders. The pandemic, a challenge to all mankind, can only be defeated through concerted international efforts. With mutual understanding, mutual support and cooperation, we are ready to continue working with African friends to achieve the final victory.”
April 13: Africa Round-Up From The Weekend.
Coronavirus developments continue to unravel across the continent as governments continue efforts at arresting spread of the pandemic through national and continental efforts.
The weekend coughed up some major developments across Africa aside the rising number of cases, deaths and recoveries. South Africa remains the most impacted country even though the spike in cases have dropped and a bumper recovery was also recorded.
Across the ocean, mistreatment of Africans in China also gave rise to a raft of protests from different governments with the African Union ultimately inviting the Chinese envoy to Addis Ababa to demand concrete action on the part of Beijing.
In Nigeria, the Foreign Minister and Speaker of the lower house of parliament had cause to summon the Chinese ambassador to register their displeasure. Ghana’s Foreign Minister also did same whiles Congo Republic, Kenya and Sierra Leone issued strongly worded statements.
Meanwhile over in the Chinese business city of Guangzhou, have been left stranded for a second night after they were ejected by owners of hotels and apartment blocks.
The BBC reporter in Hong Kong, Danny Vincent reported the mass evictions on Tuesday confirming that two days on, the situation had yet to be resolved.
Online rumours that the coronavirus was spreading among the thousands of Africans in the city led to door-to-door testing, evictions and accusations of forced quarantine. “We have no house, no food, no hotel,” one student from Nigeria told the BBC.
“There are up to 100 people still on the streets. People want to go back to our countries. I don’t know what the problem is with China. Everywhere that Africans live they are pushing us away.”
Guangzhou is home to one of China’s largest African communities and has become a hub for African traders buying and selling goods to the continent.
In an open letter penned by the All African Association of Guangzhou, community leaders called on the authorities to end the “the inhuman treatment, hatred, and outright discrimination of Africans that is currently going on in Guangzhou”.
“About 10 African community leaders in Guangzhou are technically under house arrest using the term quarantine. These actions are difficult to comprehend when you consider the fact that these are people whose official test results came back negative just one or two days ago.”
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