Editorial: China’s Anti-COVID-19 Efforts Viewed by Foreign Teachers

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Countries around the world are suffering from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning of 2020. The decrease of newly confirmed cases is evident after months of great efforts and the corona virus spreading is under good control in most parts of China. Now the attention of the government for now has changed into the prevention of imported cases. To the date, domestic living in China is gradually getting back to normal and the public hopes that our lives and economy would recover to the time before the virus while keep taking measures of prevention and control at the same time.

Chongqing, as one of the major cities in South China, is now stable in the prevention and control of the virus. More and more citizens are taking steps to get back to their normal lives under the circumstances of social stability. We interviewed three foreign teachers who are currently living in Chongqing and let them share their experiences during the pandemic and opinions on the achievements China has made.

“I think they did the right thing”

Our first guest is Garrett from Georgia, the US, who works for a foreign school in Chongqing. His first impression of the preventive measures is: “I’m totally okay with the government’s decisions. I wore masks and I followed all the rules, I knew they were necessary and I’m happy that now everything is normal again. ”

Garrett arrived in Chongqing on 1 December, 2019 and the corona virus outbreak was in two months. “This virus is scary, but I’m happy that I am still here. Living in a foreign country, I was a bit scared of the new virus even when I’m already used to the life here. Luckily my Chinese colleague Bruce helped me a lot the whole time. I think everyone was scared, so did my friends and I. We were talking about staying or going home and some of my friends did chose to leave. But I think the choice you make in the state of panic is not necessarily right. Now the virus is spreading everywhere in the world and it is not safe at home either. I didn’t know what was waiting for us in the future and I thought about going back to America, but I really enjoyed living here . I didn’t want to give up the life that I had just because of the virus. I didn’t want to make the wrong decisions. So my friends and I came back to Chongqing after we finished our trip in south-east Asia and backed to the normal life after quarantine in the hotel.”

Garrett’s trip was a planned and thoughtful decision. His stay in the destination got extended due to the corona virus. It was almost the end of the lockdown when he came back  and the city went vibrant again shortly after his two-week quarantine. “Quarantine in the hotel is what I experienced about the anti-virus combat. I had a busy schedule, I worked and did push-ups everyday so I didn’t feel bored or uncomfortable. It was unusual without friends around me but I knew it was necessary and I was totally okay with it.”

Garrett said: “It must be really hard for the government to make decisions, but things are back to normal now, so I think they did the right thing.”

“We’ll stay here for now”

Our next guest is Ryan from Toronto, Canada who is 44 years old and has been working in China for three years. He thinks that quarantine is totally acceptable. “Everyone came back from other places had to do the same, so did I, cause we had no choice. I live in China and I need to follow the rules here. I was happy that we didn’t have to go to work, ha ha.”

During lockdown, his Chinese colleagues informed foreign teachers about the government’s policies in time and helped them a lot. They spent the quarantine life safely with the help from each other. “China is big and has so many big cities, one of the measures the government took was to let the community supervise their own residents, this helps a lot in tracking people’s movements, also people chose to stay indoors to protect themselves. So far all the measures of prevention and control are quite effective.”

Ryan is aware of the news that Chinese government sent medical teams to other countries. “I knew China sent medical teams to Spain and Italy and other countries to share experience in fighting against the virus. Some foreign media might said something bad about this but I don’t care much about what they say. I think China is doing a good thing because China wants to be friends with foreign countries and this is benefit for them. I live here and I know what the government is doing.”

After three years of living in Chongqing, Ryan is planning on getting married. The city is where his girlfriend is and where his jobs and friends are.

“One of the best moves the government made”

Our last guest Ali is a thirty-year old teacher from Scotland, the Britain. During the New Year holiday, Ali left for California with an American colleague on 21 January and came back on 4 February. They knew that the quarantine was compulsory before they came back. “Everyone travelled abroad had to do this, we did the same thing and I was okay with it. The quarantine was actually bearable if we want to stay here longer.”

When they arrived in Chongqing, people in the airport sent them masks and they checked their body temperatures at the customs, then they took a taxi and went home.

Ali thought it was the right decision for him to come back to China after the trip. “Situation here in China is way better than Britain, the U.S. and other places in the world. The government was doing the right thing. I remember on our way to the airport in America, the taxi driver asked where were we going, and we said ‘China’, and he asked ‘Are you crazy, didn’t you read the news?’ Of course we knew what was happening in China, we had a life there and we must go. But now it is my turn to say ‘Good luck with that to the taxi driver.”

In Ali’s opinion, he admired the measures of wearing masks, checking body temperatures and people trying to not touch each other too much during the pandemic, allowing only one person in each family to buy groceries once a few days. He thinks that opened shops one after another and opened up the city step by step was one of the best moves the government made.