ABOUT 10 Nigerian citizens in the UK waiting for evacuation back home will have to wait for at least a fortnight now before they can leave after they tested positive for coronavirus and will now need to be placed in isolation.
With hundreds of Nigerians stranded abroad wishing to return home, the federal government initiated an evacuation scheme under which they can be flown back after registering with the local mission in the country where they live. In the UK, the Nigerian high commission asked those interested in participating in the scheme to forward their details and so far, about 40 people have taken up the offer.
However, to qualify for evacuation, applicants must be certified as coronavirus positive and of the 40 people who registered in the UK, about 10 of them tested positive. These test results created panic among the staff of the Nigerian high commission in London, creating fears that the applicants could infect others with the virus.
As of Saturday April 11 2,000 Nigerians, mostly in the US, UK, China and the United Arab Emirates, had registered and indicated their intentions to return home. Many of the stranded Nigerians were students and businessmen, who travelled abroad and got stranded by the global lockdown.
One source at the London high commission said: “We have just received the results of the first batch of 40 Nigerians who registered for evacuation to Nigeria. The results show that about 10 persons tested positive for Covid-19 and they have commenced treatment in isolation centres.
“What is generating consternation is the fear that they might have infected many other people since they were not showing symptoms of the deadly disease.”
Nigeria’s foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama, said that the federal government was exploring all options for the evacuation of the stranded citizens. In China in particular, the situation is dire as a recent video showed about 100 Nigerians being evicted from their homes and hotels in Guangzhou by the authorities last week, while their passports were reportedly seized.