In the Coronavirus Attack, Stranded African Students in Wuhan, China, are Calling for Assistance.

The Coronavirus at its Pinnacle

The coronavirus Outbreak is at its Pinnacle while Young African Students Urge their Governments to Evacuate them. 

The coronavirus has almost killed five hundred people and thousands more infected by the disease. It is believed to have originated from Wuhan late in the past year, with confirmed cases in at least 24 countries worldwide. Kanzira got the news of the virus first in mid-January when the posts on social networking sites started to circulate advising people to avoid crowded places.   

Yangtze University revealed two weeks ago that the coronavirus affected a 21-year-old male Cameroonian scholar. This was the first African diagnosed with the virus.

Nevertheless, the major concern emerged a few days later. Universities declared they would close down because several incidents and deaths had started to increase. To Kanzira, life in isolation is the same as a horror movie. “The roads are clear; it is like a scenario of one of the apocalyptic films in Hollywood,” the telephone says.

China is the second-most popular nation for African students who seek to complete university overseas. In the context of strengthening ties with several African states, Beijing offers many education grants.

Thomas Kanzira disappointed by his home government. Upsplash Images

Thomas Kanzira, a 25-year-old medical student at Jianghan University, says he and his other Ugandan peers reached out to different authorities of the Ugandan Government. The Ugandan authorities instructed them to obey the Chinese government directives.

Meanwhile, Africa’s medical specialists remain divided on the topic of evacuation. “African states have to bring their people home so that we don’t inoculate a virus on the continent,” says Kyeng Mercy Tetuh, a Cameroonian health expert and epidemiologist.

The Response of other Nations

A source in contact with the Ugandan Health Ministry states, “The government’s failure to evacuate people because they are not prepared to fight the coronavirus. 

What has complicated the whole situation is what he believes is the silence from the authorities of his nation. This is contrary to other countries worldwide that quickly acted to get its people out of China. 

“We learned the Americans evacuate their people first, then other nations did the same. Kanzira narrated he watched the departure of his colleagues and felt impotent and lost.

Algeria also commissioned a plane to take its citizens home, as well as Libyan, Mauritanian and Tunisian nationals. Kenya also declared two weeks ago it would evacuate the 85 Kenyans stranded in Wuhan. But this will only be possible when the Chinese authorities remove the quarantine.

According to the regional press reports, officials in other African states, like Zimbabwe, Sudan, Uganda, and Zambia governments, have expressed faith in the Chinese government’s ability to keep their citizens safe. Rescue operations do not, therefore, appear in their plans. They advised their nationals to rather stay indoors and obey the Chinese authorities’ directives.

“The government says it can’t evacuate us. That frustrated us,” says Rahab Elhadi Hkreldour Adam, a Sudanese citizen studying Science and Technology at Huazhong University. “Day by day, the situation gets tougher.” While concerns about physical welfare might be in the minds of trapped people, psychological problems still occur. Morocco and Egypt have so far relocated their people as well.

The African Students in China Express Fears of Potential Food Shortage.

“I double on the masks and gloves when I go out,” Kanzira says. “I bleach my hands, clean them with antibacterial soap, and cleanse all the doorknobs that I touch as soon as I get home.” 

Kanzira says; “They pretty much leave us on our supplies, transport us home and isolate us here for 14 days.” He said this referring to the virus’s estimated lockdown time. “The quarantine is going to continue until they contain the virus. This might take months. Schools and offices will stay shut, what’s next for us?”

Like many others, they call home, hoping for help. Upsplash Images

Lucy, a Kenya student who only revealed her first name, says: “I sense walls cleaving in around me; I think I’m losing my mind. She stressed the increased anxiety that her mental condition is worsening.

Murombo Vimbai is also dissatisfied with her country’s Government, a Zimbabwean student at the University of Yunnan Technology and Business. The 20-year-old went to Wuhan from south-west China’s Yunnan province to visit her cousin during the holiday break for the Lunar New Year.

Days before Vimbai scheduled to return, the Airline informed her of the cancellation of all flights. “It would truly benefit us if the government of Zimbabwe could demonstrate they cared for us,” she said. “It is hard to get food when the government has terminated transportation services. There are fewer masks at the pharmacies. There’s no way to get assistance if the power goes off in this apartment. I’m not OK, mentally,” Vimbai admitted.

The Psychological Torture

Tanzanian clinician Joachim Mabula said there should be no evacuation before the problem is fixed, to prevent possible transmission.

Calling home for help
Lucy calling home for help. Pixabay Images

Often concerned are the psychological effects of Tisiliyani Salima, a medical student, and a leader of the Zambian Student Association in Wuhan. “I’ve talked to people who haven’t seen another person since the quarantine started. They completely isolated them.”

Salima finds it difficult to acknowledge the increasing death rate, combined with a feeling of alienation. “Watching our colleagues from other countries leave has left many feeling uncertain and terrified. They want us all home; we truly hope the African Union and the government will evacuate African nationals from here,” she says. She spends most of her time, along with many others, interacting with loved ones back home on the phone.

“How can the Kenyan Government expect us to survive this way?” Lucy asked in fear. “What will occur when I run out of antidepressants?

Kanzira has trouble getting out of bed. “Each morning, I wake up to the fact that I’m stuck,” he notes. “I constantly check my temperature. I can’t help wondering if I’m sick or if the signs have not yet started to show.” He is one of the thousands of students from Africa who live in Wuhan. The Chinese central town of Wuhan currently has 11 million people locked up due to the massive spread of the coronavirus. As he ponders about the future, Kanzira lets out a resigned sigh on his phone.



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