Africans evicted from Chinese hotels over COVID-19 fears

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FILE PHOTO: The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 29, 2020. Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC/Handout via REUTERS.

Hundreds of African residents and businessmen in China’s southern city of Guangzhou have been evicted from hotels and apartments as local health officials rollout a testing campaign for COVID-19, community leaders have said.

Those evicted said they were being discriminated against.

“They are accusing us of having the virus,” said Tobenna Victor, a Nigerian student in Guangzhou.

“We paid rent to them and after collecting rent they chased us out of the house. Since last night we have been sleeping outside.”

Businessman Lunde Okulunge Isidore, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, said: “They came to my house. They told me to wait after 24 hours for the result, [but] after 24 hours nobody contacted me.”

Some residents have told the BBC that they have been evicted from their apartments, others say that they have been put into forced quarantine without knowing the results of their tests.

Chinese officials had denied online rumours that the virus was spreading in African communities and that parts of the city where Africans reside were under lockdown.

Guangzhou is home to one of China’s largest African communities and has become a hub for African traders buying and selling goods to the continent.

There are rising concerns in China over the increase in a number of imported COVID-19 cases, which authorities fear could fuel a second outbreak.

 

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