By Victoria Ojeme
The Federal Government is engaging the Republic of China following last week’s sweeping entry suspension placed on non-Chinese nationals from many countries in Europe and the Americas which affected Nigeria.
A statement today by Ferdinand Nwonye, the Spokesperson Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja said the Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama invited the Chargé D’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Zhao Yong to provide clarification on how the new Chinese visa restrictions affecting Nigerians.
He said the Chinese Embassy subsequently provided the following information: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China has decided to temporarily suspend entry into China by non-Chinese nationals in Nigeria holding valid visas or residence permits, effective from November 3rd, 2020.
“The Chinese Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria will no longer issue Certified Health Declaration Form for the above-mentioned.
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“Entry by holders of diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas (issued for foreign crew members) will not be affected. Foreign nationals visiting China for emergency needs may apply for visa at Chinese Embassy or Consulate. Entry by non-Chinese nationals in Nigeria with visas issued after November 3rd, 2020 will not be affected.
“The suspension is a temporary response necessitated by the current situation of COVID-19. The above-mentioned measures will be assessed in accordance with the evolving situation and any adjustment will be notified accordingly.
“The Ministry will continue to engage the Chinese Government on the issue and keep Nigerians informed. China has barred non-Chinese travelers from Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Belgium and others from entry, imposing new border restrictions in response to the worsening Covid-19 pandemic across Europe,” the statement said.
The Chinese Embassy in Nigeria also said it will no longer issue certified health declaration form for non-Chinese nationals in the country.
VANGUARD had last week reported that China has placed a temporary visa ban and entry restriction for Nigerians into the country following the resurgence of COVID-19 across Europe and the United States.
The embassy in a statement said “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China has decided to temporarily suspend entry into China by non-Chinese nationals in Nigeria holding visas or residence permits still valid at the time of this announcement.
“The Chinese Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria will no longer issue a certified health declaration form for the above-mentioned personnel. Entry by holders of diplomatic service, courtesy or C visas will not be affected.
It is not very clear why Nigeria was included in the travel ban having recorded fewer cases compared to what the World Health Organization (WHO) called a “critical moment of action” in Europe.
According to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Nigeria now has 63,325 confirmed cases of the coronavirus since the first reported case in March.
“On the 4th of November 2020, 155 new confirmed cases and 4 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 7,810 samples across the country.
“To date, 63,328 cases have been confirmed, 59,675 cases have been discharged and 1,155 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 668,729 tests have been carried out as of November 4th, 2020 compared to 635,410 tests a day earlier,” the NCDC said on its website.
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