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Chinese firms continue operations in Africa despite Ebola fears

Xinhua | Updated: 2014-08-19 13:17

Chinese firms continue operations in Africa despite Ebola fears

Chinese medical experts Xu Daomiao(2nd L), Sha Xinping (2nd R) and Zhang Heng (1st R) pose for a group photo upon their arrival at the Lungi International Airport in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, Aug 17, 2014. Three medical experts from Central China's Hunan province arrived in the Ebola-affected Sierra Leone on Sunday. China has sent expert teams and medical supplies to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to assist in the prevention and control of the Ebola virus. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING -- With Guinean President Alpha Conde declaring a state of health emergency in the country, the four West African countries hit by the Ebola outbreak have called emergency in a war-like battle against the deadly epidemic.

However, Chinese companies that have projects in West Africa are not scared away by the Ebola outbreak but hold on to their commitment and win-win cooperation with African countries.


The 24th contingent of Chinese medics and the second team of Chinese public health experts have arrived in Conakry, the capital city of Guinea. The experts will give advises to the Chinese companies on how to take preventions against Ebola.

According to Counsellor Gao Tiefeng at the Chinese embassy, all Chinese companies in Guinea have upgraded prevention to ensure the health of their staffers. They have arranged shifts and vacation for their workers.

Zhang Jun, a project manager of China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE) that was working on the largest water and electric project in Guinea so far, told Xinhua that the company wasted no time in setting up an emergency and aid center after the Ebola outbreak.

Even though CWE's project is located in a populated area in the capital, none of its several hundred Chinese workers and 1,500 local employees were infected, thanks to a quick response to the virus.

China Harbor Engineering Company also took preventive measures, such as sterilizing all offices and dorm rooms every week and control the flow of all personnel and vehicles in and out of the company's compound.

The branch of China's Huawei in Guinea guaranteed the normal operation of its service and technical support to its local contractors as Ebola killed more than 380 people in the country.

In Sierra Leone, which is in its rain season, many Chinese projects have been suspended and the Chinese companies cut off direct contact with outsiders as a precautious measure.

The Ebola outbreak in Liberia has affected the operation and business of Chinese companies in the country, but Chinese workers remain safe and the risk is still controllable, said a Chinese diplomat.

There are some 1,500 workers with Chinese companies in Liberia and the impact of the epidemic on Chinese companies has gradually surfaced, Chinese commercial counsellor Xiao Mingxiang told Xinhua on Friday.

Due to the withdrawal of the medical staff of international organizations and the heavy loss of local medics, the Liberian medical institutes have come to a crunch, Xiao said.

Thanks to the strict protective measures the Chinese companies have put in place, their employees face little threat from the Ebola virus, but such tropical diseases as malaria and typhoid pose potential risks, he said.

In Kenya, East Africa, dozens of projects were running as usual, without being affected by the Ebola fears.

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