Health crisis

Chinese experts arrive to help Nigeria in coronavirus fight

A team of Chinese medical professionals on Wednesday arrived at Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Nigeria flying in medical equipment worth about 1.5 million US dollars.

The Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, whiles welcoming the 15-man team said it is time to “reciprocate the friendship and kindness” offered by Nigeria.

The value of the equipment, medical supplies is about $1.5 million, and including the other cost like the chartered air flight, it’s around $2 million, the ambassador disclosed.

China where the COVID-19 disease was discovered in late 2019 has dispatched medics and supplies across the globe in a soft power push. The government placed the team into mandatory 14-day quarantine before they can start their duties.

The decision to welcome the Chinese doctors has however prompted a backlash from the Nigerian Medical Association which argued that Nigeria did not need external intervention to manage the ongoing pandemic.

But top government officials including the Health Minister defended the deployment stressing that the Chinese team will help advise local authorities on handling the pandemic.

Minister Osagie Ehanire told reporters: “This is a global problem, you know that this is affecting the whole world in such a way that all countries must help each other and we must also be our brothers keeper.” Nigeria as of April 9 has recorded 276 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with and six deaths.

The West African country is the continent’s most populous and is classed highly vulnerable to the spread of the virus due to its weak healthcare system.

The country has already received medical supplies, including masks, gowns and testing kits from China’s richest man Jack Ma.