Foreigners in Shanghai remain confident

(chinadaily.com.cn) | Feb 21, 2020

Opening up his suitcases, Jeffery S. Lehman, vice-chancellor of New York University Shanghai, handed out various medical materials to his faculty members, including protective clothing, sterile gloves and digital thermometers.

Lehman returned to China from New York earlier this month and brought these materials to Shanghai to help prevent the novel coronavirus on campus.

During his stay in New York, he had been following the progress of the epidemic. To help ensure the health of students and faculty members, he filled up his suitcases with various medical supplies. So far, no cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported at the university.

"People all around the world are concerned about the coronavirus outbreak," says Lehman, adding that people care about China.

Touched by the commitment of Chinese people on the front line of the epidemic battle, Lehman says many of his American friends are also willing to help.

According to the statistics of the Shanghai Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, there are more than 200,000 foreigners living and working in Shanghai. As China ramps up the fight against the infectious disease, these foreign residents also joined in the battle.

Some helped translate health tips from Chinese to English to alert other foreigners in Shanghai, while some chose to share foreign experts' analysis of the epidemic with Chinese people online.

Afu Thomas, a German living in Shanghai and also an internet celebrity on Bilibili, a Chinese online video sharing platform, uploaded a video of his interview with Rolf Hilgenfeld, a German professor at Lubeck University, to give audiences some advice on disease prevention.

The Ronghua Neighborhood, known as "a pocket United Nations" in Shanghai, is home to more than 16,000 foreign residents from over 50 countries and regions.

Some foreigners who have been to epidemic-hit areas during the Spring Festival holiday are under isolation observation at home.

Sakai, a Japanese resident in the neighborhood, had just returned to Shanghai from a business trip to Wuhan before Spring Festival. He was under home quarantine along with his family members, expressing understanding of the measure.

"It is an effective prevention and control measure against the epidemic, and there is nothing to worry about," Sakai says.

During the isolation observation period, Sakai says he deeply felt the love from Shanghai residents to foreigners like him.

"I am very grateful to the medical workers and the neighborhood volunteers who provide food delivery and psychological counseling services to us," Sakai says. "It is still reassuring to live in Shanghai."


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