The visiting 15-member medical team from China will arrive the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on a chattered Air Peace aircraft on Wednesday, April 8, despite opposition by the Nigerian Medical Association.
The personnel, who are experts in infectious diseases, respiratory illness, intensive care, cardiology, neurology, general surgery and anesthesiology, will be coming with their drugs, and equipment to carry out COVID-19 tests on the staff of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation in the country.
The Executive Director, CCECC, Mr Jacques Liao, said in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, that the medical team would be coming with 16-ton test kits, ventilators, disinfection machine, disposable medical masks, drugs, infrared thermometer and other items ordered by the Federal Government.
Liao dispelled what he described as the controversy about the team’s visit, stating that “the primary purpose of the team is to provide CECC employees with critical and necessary healthcare.”
He added, “All members of the working team have tested negative for COVID-19 and shall commence their stay in Nigeria by spending 14 days in quarantine.
“The primary purpose of the team is to provide CCECC employees with critical and necessary health care assistance. They are also coming with adequate personal protective equipment and medical items for the employees.”
The director explained that under the directive of the Embassy of China in Nigeria and in response to the Federal Government’s request, the team may also share with their Nigerian counterparts effective methods on COVID-19 containment.
Liao explained that in keeping with CCECC’s corporate value, ‘stride with Nigeria,’ the firm would be participating in the construction of two COVID-19 response facilities in the Federal Capital Territory for free.
Meanwhile, the Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives has rejected the decision of the Federal Government to bring in Chinese doctors and nurses to assist in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
The lawmakers on Tuesday said the decision to bring in people from “the hotbed of the plague” was not in Nigeria’s best interest. They urged the Federal Government to suspend the plan.
Their position was contained in a statement signed by the House Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta), in Abuja, on Tuesday.
Elumelu said the caucus wanted the Federal Government to rescind its decision to import doctors from the “hotbed of the plague into our country at this critical time.”
The statement read in part, “The lawmakers note that Nigerian doctors and nurses are doing well so far in managing the scourge, and express fears that bringing in Chinese medical personnel, whose status, intentions and scope cannot be easily ascertained and controlled is totally against our national interest.
“The Federal Government should note the apprehensions of Nigerians and professional bodies including the Nigeria Medical Association over the decision. The caucus notes that this is particularly after alleged escalation of the pandemic in certain countries after Chinese doctors were reportedly involved, in addition to widespread trepidations over the safety of medical equipment and kits from China at this point in time.
“At such critical time, the safety and wellbeing of our citizens must be paramount and anything that is capable of further jeopardising their lives must be avoided.”