There are fears that Nigerian visitors to Chinese cities may contract the disease and spread it to others on arrival in the country if stringent measures are not taken at the airports and other border points.
Official figures obtained on Friday by Saturday PUNCH indicated that about 120,000 Chinese nationals visit Nigeria annually mainly to explore business and other economic opportunities in agriculture, solid mineral exploration and mining.
According to the President, China Chambers of Commerce in Nigeria, Mr Ye Shuijin, 160 Chinese firms operating in the country had employed over 200,000 Nigerians, many of whom are sent to China for training and seminars from time to time.
Also, no fewer than 30,000 Nigerians travel to different Chinese cities every year for business or tourism reasons.
Findings also reveal that about 60,000 Chinese nationals are living in different cities in Nigeria. Many of them also travel to their home country regularly during festive seasons such as the Spring Festival holding on Saturday (today).
China, according to reports, went into lockdown on Friday after authorities and business owners scrambled to shut tourist attractions and public transport systems as part of efforts to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Major festivities all over the country have been cancelled, including those at Beijing’s Forbidden City, a major tourist destination, and fairs and carnivals in Beijing and Hong Kong.
China allocates RMB 1 billion to fight the virus
China is allocating RMB 1 billion ($144m) to combat coronavirus outbreak.
A statement released by the Ministry of Finance on Thursday said the money would “support virus control work in Hubei province,” where Wuhan is located.
It did not specify how the funds would be spent.
Meanwhile, passenger screening, particularly for inbound travellers, was tightened up by FAAN, immigration and PHS officials, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Friday.
Also, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced on Friday via his Twitter handle that the Federal Government had received six new aircraft to be deployed at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, Kaduna State.