CORONAVIRUS: HOW SAFE ARE OUR STUDENTS IN CHINA?
South Sudanese and Chinese diplomats have recently voiced their concern on whether to evacuate students who are studying in the Asian country or not. This came after the outbreak of coronavirus, which, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the cause of respiratory illness first detected in Chinese city of Wuhan. Nationals from different countries in Wuhan City were caught unaware by the outbreak of the virus, and South Sudanese students were no exception. Despite assurance from the Chinese government that the spread of the virus is being contained, foreign governments have evacuated their nationals out of Wuhan, the coronavirus hotbed. We may believe Ambassador John Anduruga Duku for saying there is no need to evacuate students from Wuhan. But the Center for Disease Control and Prevention points that many of the patients had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread is occurring. How easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people remained unclear. Wuhan has been in lockdown with public transport suspended. As of January, more than 2,000 cases were confirmed and death toll hit 81. That number has risen to 500 according to recent media reports. Basically, coronavirus is spreading faster than the efforts being made to contain it. The situation in Wuhan may be favorable for now and we all hope it remain exactly that for the students. They are the pillars of the nation, some will come back to rebuild the nation after the completion of their studies. The spread of the virus infections among people has remained a public concern. The risk from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including how well it spreads between people, the severity of resulting illness, and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus. Therefore, it is important for the government to acknowledge that this is a rapidly evolving situation and any possibility cannot be ruled out.