Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Friday said lack of isolation centres poses a serious challenge to Nigerians who are itching to return home because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Onyeama who disclosed this at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said over 2,000 Nigerian nationals in the United States, United Kingdom, China, United Arab Emirates and other countries had registered with various Nigerian embassies abroad to come back home.

He stated that most hotel owners are not willing to allow government to use their hotels as isolation centres for their facilities being tampered or distorted.

The Foreign Affairs Minister also revealed that nine Nigerians tested positive for coronavirus in China against the 72 reported in the media.

He said, “The media report mentioned that there were apparently 72 Nigerians who have tested positive to COVID-19 in China. We have a Consulate in Guangzhou, which is the epicentre of all the things that are happening in China regarding COVID-19.

“The official figure that was given was nine Nigerians and as I understand it, our Consulate added that a number of Nigerians were asymptomatic but the figures that we had was nine.

“The Chinese ambassador talked about a plane that came into the country in which there were some Nigerian passengers who subsequently tested positive within that range of nine, 12.

“So where the figure 72 came from, I really have no idea whatsoever.”