Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for China

Newsline: Thai Embassy in Beijing ordered to care for nationals stranded in Wuhan

Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai ordered the Thai embassy in Beijing to take care of three Thai citizens stranded in Wuhan, the epicentre of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. (https://thethaiger.com/hot-news/coronavirus/embassy-ordered-to-care-for-3-thais-stranded-in-wuhan) The three didn’t join the 138 Thai evacuees who returned on February 4. One of the three is a woman who overstayed her visa and has yet to pay the fine. The second is a woman recovering from a fever, while the third is a man who had a fever at the time of the evavuation but has now completely recovered. “I have ordered the embassy to take care of Thai people in other Chinese cities as well. No one will be left behind no matter where they are, in virus-risk areas or not. Everyone will receive care from the Foreign Ministry.”

Newsline: US allows its diplomats in Hong Kong to leave

The US may become the first country to pull its diplomats and expatriates out of Hong Kong after reports that staff at its consulate general can choose to return home if they feel the coronavirus in the city may affect them. The consulate stressed in a reply to media inquiries that the measure was merely a “precautionary one” and that those who left for home, mostly non-essential personnel, did so of their own volition and that most services at the consulate would remain normal. (https://www.asiatimes.com/2020/02/article/us-allows-its-diplomats-in-hong-kong-to-leave/) It is understood that Consul General Hanscom Smith and other senior consuls and attachés are not packing to leave. The consulate added that the State Department also offered options for employees dispatched to the city to leave or remain during the 2003 SARS outbreak. Those who wished to return to the US would have their flights paid for and would work from there. Some chose to leave because of “practical reasons” like school closures in the city, according to the South China Morning Post and other local papers.

Newsline: Russia quarantines Chinese diplomat as coronavirus precaution

Russian authorities have quarantined a Chinese diplomat as a safety precaution against the coronavirus outbreak, the Interfax news agency reported. Consul General Cui Shaochun arrived in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg to take up his new post but was told to stay at home for two weeks, Russian foreign ministry official Alexander Kharlov was quoted as saying. The Chinese consulate in Yekaterinburg did not answer calls. )https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-health-russia-quarantine/russia-quarantines-chinese-diplomat-as-coronavirus-precaution-interfax-idUSKBN2041M5) Russia has reported two cases of the coronavirus and has isolated hundreds of Russian and Chinese nationals who recently arrived from China to screen them for the virus. More than 100 Chinese citizens are quarantined in a sanatorium in Yekaterinburg or in a dormitory in a nearby town.

Newsline: U.S. Embassy in China Suspends Regular Visa Services Amid Virus

The U.S. will temporarily suspend regular visa services in mainland China from Monday as the coronavirus epidemic leaves it with “limited staffing.” (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-09/u-s-embassy-in-china-suspends-regular-visa-services-amid-virus) The U.S. embassy in Beijing and consulates in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenyang may not be able to respond to requests on regular visa services but may make available some emergency appointments, according to a statement on its website.

Newsline: Ukraine’s embassy says citizens to be evacuated from Wuhan in China

Ukraine is preparing to evacuate its citizens from the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province on Tuesday by special charter plane to Kiev, a statement from the country’s embassy in China said on Monday. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-health-ukraine/ukraine-preparing-to-evacuate-citizens-from-wuhan-in-china-on-tuesday-embassy-idUSKBN20410P) Returning citizens would be put into mandatory quarantine for two weeks, the statement said. A coronavirus epidemic has killed more than 900 people. China has borne the brunt of the disease with the vast majority of confirmed cases.

Newsline: US embassy says an American diagnosed with the new coronavirus died in Wuhan, China

A U.S. citizen diagnosed with the new coronavirus died in Wuhan, China on Thursday, the U.S. embassy said in a statement. “We can confirm a 60-year old U.S. citizen diagnosed with coronavirus died at Jinyintian Hospital in Wuhan, China on February 6. We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss. Out of the respect for the family’s privacy, we have no further comment,” the embassy said. (https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/08/american-diagnosed-with-new-coronavirus-died-in-wuhan-china.html) It is the first known American death in an outbreak of a new coronavirus. Wuhan is the center of the outbreak and the capital of Hubei province, where most deaths and confirmed cases are located. Earlier Saturday, China’s National Health Commission said the virus has killed more than 700 people and infected over 34,000. Of those, 699 deaths and nearly 25,000 confirmed cases occurred in Hubei, according to the province’s figures. Hubei said 545 people in Wuhan have died in the outbreak as of the end of Friday.

Newsline: African students stranded in China’s coronavirus heartland plead with embassies

Thousands of African students in Wuhan, the centre of the coronavirus epidemic, face dwindling food supplies, limited information and lockdowns restricting them to their campuses or hostels. Two weeks after restrictions on movement were imposed, residents are running short of basic necessities, say students in the central Chinese city. Several people described profound anxiety, insufficient food and a lack of information. Many complained about the lack of assistance received from their own embassies but refrained from criticising Chinese authorities. (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/04/african-students-stranded-in-wuhan-coronavirus) There are more than 80,000 African students in China, often attracted by generous government scholarships. About 5,000 are thought to be in Wuhan, where there are scores of further education establishments offering qualifications that are prized in Africa. A 21-year-old student from Cameroon living in Jingzhou city was reported to be among new cases. He is thought to have contracted the illness on a trip to Wuhan two weeks ago before the lockdown was imposed on the city but is not in any danger, university officials said.