新型冠状病毒影响下非洲各国面临的挑战

 In op-ed, 个人意见

新型冠状病毒爆发以来,对非洲各国来说,是否从中国撤侨仅仅是他们面临的第一个挑战

撤还是不撤?

非洲各国政府目前正纠结是否要从疫情中心湖北省撤侨,而这个问题只能由非洲各国共同决定。原因如下。

目前,非洲各国政府在中国面临一个艰难的抉择。湖北省人口众多,几乎相当于坦桑尼亚整个国家,且是新型冠状病毒疫情最严重的地区。睿纳新国际咨询公司估算,最少有来自15个非洲国家的100位非洲公民及留学生滞留在疫情中心。湖北省内大约有4600位来自非洲的侨民,与几百万中国人民及旅居中国的外国人一样行动受限。刚刚爆发的新型冠状病毒目前没有疫苗或特效药,为防止病毒扩散,中国政府已经采取了应急措施限制人员流动。

一方面,把学生和公民留在隔离区风险很大。的确,中国政府医生护士,以及相关专家一天24小时在治疗病患,努力研究疫苗,防范新的感染,中国甚至为此新建了几家医院。但相关报道显示,目前湖北省的公立医院已处于饱和状态,挤满了确诊患者和疑似感染者。在这次疫情袭击湖北以前,非洲各国的大使馆几乎都不清楚居住在湖北省的具体侨民人数。尽管他们夜以继日地通过学生组织和微信平台搜集留学生信息一些被困在学校宿舍不知所措的学生仍有可能被漏掉。

到目前为止,只有一位来自喀麦隆的非洲留学生被确诊感染了新型冠状病毒。其他两位被感染的外国人分别来自巴基斯坦和澳大利亚。然而,他们所属国家的外交官及大使馆代表无法进入隔离区。因此他们的安全及健康状态只能通过远程交流或中国官方消息得到确认。他们能做的只有等待。

另一方面,从湖北省撤出学生和公民也有巨大的风险。美国,日本,韩国,澳大利亚和印度已经陆续撤侨了。首先,中国政府已经请求各国不要撤侨,因此必须向中国政府提出人员撤离的申请,而且要考虑到包机费用不菲。可以想象从隔离区撤离来自非洲25个国家50人以下的学生和公民有多么困难,而事实比这个假设更复杂。另外,非洲各国在武汉都没有设置领馆。第二点,中国政府和世界卫生组织建议从中国撤离后自行隔离14天。这样做是为了保护其他国家的公民,因为新型冠状病毒的潜伏期是10-14天。这意味着撤侨后的非洲各国政府要为撤离的学生,家庭,老人和孩子准备完善的隔离空间及设施,并且需要考虑到每个人的身体状况和不同需求。英国改造军营作为隔离设施的做法看似值得提倡,但在非洲大陆上这样的设施很少并且彼此间距离很远。结果,目前只有非洲大陆上比较富有的国家——阿尔及利亚,埃及,毛里求斯,摩洛哥,塞舌尔几国实现了从中国撤侨。阿尔及利亚政府在撤侨的同时,也帮助撤出了突尼斯,利比亚和毛里塔尼亚的侨民。成功撤侨的这几个国家,国民生产总值(GDP)或人均生产总值都在非洲排名前5。世界卫生组织提供了一系列指数,用来衡量一个国家是否为当地民众提供了所需的健康卫生服务。阿尔及利亚在非洲国家中的得分是70%,而非洲地区的平均值是48%。阿尔及利亚和埃及在撤侨的同时,也向中国捐赠了几百万口罩和其他医疗必需品。

最后一点是,这个阶段的撤侨会开创一个先例。如果病毒肆虐到中国其他地区,陆续会有其它城市被隔离。到时候迫于压力,撤侨的范围会扩散,更多的侨民会受到影响。而塞舌尔已经决定从中国撤离全部51名侨民。

对于从中国来到非洲并表现出感染症状的人,应该进行隔离,且不应该仅限于中国人。我们已经从非洲大陆上观察到好几个疑似病例。首先是科特迪瓦,紧接着是肯尼亚,埃塞俄比亚,博茨瓦纳,赤道几内亚,苏丹,最近是安哥拉和阿尔及利亚。大部分疑似感染者都是非洲公民。这并不意外,相较于目前感染病例在增加的几个国家的中国游客访问量——泰国,日本,美国,前往非洲旅行的中国人非常少。只有4%的中国游客选择非洲作为旅行目的地。而且,非洲大陆目前对埃博拉的爆发仍旧记忆犹新,虽然在机场设置检测新型冠状病毒的设备与检测埃博拉的不同,但相关流程基本是一样的。在国家公立医院隔离一两位甚至几位疑似患者也并没有那么困难。

让非洲各国难以下决心的是这其中的利益与代价。各国顶着很大的压力。来自非洲的留学生及其他公民觉得母国对自己不管不顾,因此非洲各国大使面临着来自他们的强烈反应。同时,一些撤侨的国家比如利比里亚,正忙不迭地检查数据库,为确保刚刚从中国撤出侨民的健康状态,还有本国国民的情况。本地群众对病毒充满恐惧,对留在那里的中国人也很担忧。针对中国人的歧视言论已经在肯尼亚发生了。有些旅游团人员出现了感染的症状,因此对中国的风俗习惯及传统礼仪发表了歧视言论,加剧了紧张局面,还有可能煽动无差别的歧视。

在这种情况下,应该怎么做呢?无论答案是什么,此时最重要的是非洲各国间的统一行动。原因有两个。其一是能力不均衡。非洲大陆上贫穷的国家数量比任何地方都多,如果弱小的国家单独行动,很可能会在谈判和建立所需联系时遇到困难。其二,因为非洲各国的边境管理松懈。据推算,西非各国的人口流动频率是世界其他地区人口流动频率的七倍还多。这也意味着,一个国家发生的事会密切影响另一个国家。我们只需要想一下埃博拉病毒的流动就能明白这一点。几个非洲国家一开始未能迅速察觉或诊断出相关病例,同时也未能及时通知当地居民应有的防护办法,最终加剧了疫情的恶化,延缓了疫情的遏制。

再回到中国的话题上,非洲各国不仅要在新型冠状病毒这件事上统一行动,也要在其他长远政策的领域加强合作。睿纳新国际咨询公司一直致力于在贸易,投资,风险管理等方面,促进非洲各国外交人员之间的交流与经验分享,

然而,我们发现非洲各国在面对中国时彼此间合作不足且不持久。尽管非洲各国领导人2019年聚在了一起,建立了世界上最大的自由贸易区,而且53个非洲国家在北京都设有领事馆,但彼此间却相隔甚远。面对新型冠状病毒的爆发,除了阿尔及利亚,突尼斯和利比亚三国,其他非洲国家都是单独行动,并没有去过问其他国家的情况。但是他们的行动却会影响整个非洲大陆,就像埃博拉爆发的时候那样。

为什么会出现这样缺少合作的情况?非洲联盟从2018年9月开始在北京设置了代表办事处,现在仍然人员不足。在新型冠状病毒的应对方面,非洲联盟没有任何公共健康方面的专家可以提供实质性帮助。非洲疾病控制中心为这次疫情设立了委员会,盖茨基金会承诺再捐赠5百万美元用于应对新型冠状病毒的防疫工作,这些举措在非洲大陆对病情诊断及边境管理提供了很大帮助。但非洲疾病控制中心没有能力在中国采取任何行动。这就使得非洲各国在面对发生在中国的疫情,采取果断措施权衡整个非洲大陆的风险时,存在着巨大差异。

如何解决这个合作不足的挑战?非洲大陆,或者说非洲各个地区,是否能一起就撤侨与否做出决定?

2月9日星期日,第三十三届非洲联盟峰会将要召开,这给非洲各国领导人提供了一个绝佳的机会,让他们共同合作决定将要采取的行动。应该利用这次机会,在峰会开始之前,邀请非洲疾病控制中心以及世界卫生组织的专家讲解新型冠状病毒的情况。各国领导人不仅要一起讨论,并且要一起就不同情况制定相关应对措施。不仅要迅速控制疫情,给4600名在湖北省行动受限的非洲侨民迅速提供医疗物资和食物,还要考虑疫情扩散的情况下及时撤出侨民,为他们提供回到非洲各地所需的隔离设施和资源。为了实现这些目标,非洲各国领导可能需要向富有的商人求助相关物资。阿里科・丹格特,非洲最富有的商人,已经建立了基金会致力于非洲的公共卫生事业。

是否撤侨是非洲各国目前面临的最大的问题。为了非洲大陆的发展以及与中国的关系,这个问题不应该由某一个非洲国家单独回答。考虑到非洲需要发展,同时边境管理较松懈,非洲各国应该团结起来,共同提出一个建设性的解决办法,同时加强与中国的合作。

This article was originally published on The Diplomat on February 4th 2020

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Patrick Ngugi

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