Gov’t must act now - Solomon Star News

Gov’t must act now

29 January 2020
Workers from local disease control disinfect a residential area in Ruichang, Jiangxi province in China. [Photo: Reuters]

Local students in China afraid of coronavirus


THE Government and the Ministry of Health in Solomon Islands must act now by preparing to respond to the novel coronavirus outbreak first reported in Wuhan City, Central China’s Hubei Province.

A local student studying in Xi’an city, Shaanxi Province, north west of China Nicholas Ngele told Solomon Star in an exclusive interview last night.

“I don’t know how the government and health authority in our country are going to respond on this virus outbreak but if there’s any planned strategy, apply it now than later,” he insisted.

Ngele who is also the China’s Solomon Islands Student Vice President confirmed that they are safe and free from the coronavirus at the moment.

When asked about the situation where he resides, Ngele said the feeling there is they are afraid and don’t have the freedom to go outside their homes because confirmed cases keep increasing.

“In my province yesterday, it was 22 confirmed cases, today (yesterday) we checked again and its 35 now.

“There are no confirmed deaths in my province but the scary part is its increasing and in Wuhan where the virus started it is way worse but I can’t comment on that, I’ll comment on Shaanxi where I’m living,” he added.

 He further stressed that if things got worse they would probably don’t know how to survive and as a foreigner in China, it’s scary.

“We wouldn’t go out to shop because it’s risky and also major businesses or shopping malls and food markets will probably close for the safety of people,” he added.

Ngele also told this paper that at the moment the group of ten Solomon Islands students studying in China used ‘WeChat’ to check on each other every now and then to monitor their situation and health.

“We have a total of 10 students in China, living miles from each other in different provinces. Two in Wuhan left for their holidays in Solomon Islands before the outbreak, lucky them. They’re safe! ,” he added.

Ngele said that their universities advised them that the new semester is postponed meaning they allow students to leave for their respective countries if possible.

“We are taking precaution measures but we’re going to need food to survive, that’s when we will risk our life to go out,” he said. 

Right now they are residing with the Pacific Island Forum staff in Beijing, making sure they are safe.

“If our government has the heart to do something they can go through our foreign affairs to PIF, right now we’re just here giving assurance to each other and see how things are going on here,” he said.

This paper understands that the government have not come up with any plans to bring back the students.

It is understood that the pneumonia outbreak was first reported in Wuhan City, Central China's Hubei Province in December 2019. Experts have attributed the outbreak to a novel coronavirus that has since spread across China and abroad.