Shanghai expats express confidence in measures taken

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai and Pan Mengqi in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2020-02-04 09:02
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Doctors at the community health service center in the Quyang neighborhood in Shanghai's Hongkou district survey households. [Photo/China News Service]

Foreign residents of metropolis feel 'pretty safe'

Expats in Shanghai, the city with the largest number of foreigners on the Chinese mainland, said they feel "pretty safe" despite the novel coronavirus outbreak.

They are also satisfied with the information given by the government about the latest conditions, preventive measures and case numbers.

Jasur Mavlyanov, from Uzbekistan, said the community he has called home in suburban Songjiang district for two years conducts temperature checks on all residents and visitors at its gates, as do nearby supermarkets.

The 34-year-old, who manages a trading company, said he lives in a neighborhood where about one in three of the residents are from overseas. When they talk about the virus, they all agree that the Shanghai government has been very quick to respond and provides sufficient measures to prevent its further spread.

Mavlyanov, who lived for seven years in Wuhan, Hubei province-the contagion's epicenter-and is paying extra attention to efforts to contain the virus, said he was very touched by the united and heartwarming community atmosphere in fighting it. For example, he said one of his friends in the neighborhood bought 12,000 surgical masks to donate through various channels.

"I also know a young man from Uzbekistan who is a student at a Chinese university who flew to Guangzhou (Guangdong province) on Saturday to donate more than 10,000 masks to the public," Mavlyanov said.

On Saturday, a special column on the website of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Shanghai Municipal People's Government began updating the city's expat community of about 220,000 about the latest conditions, measures taken and case numbers.

In the column, information from a daily news briefing about the epidemic in the city and reminders about preventive measures are available in Chinese, English, French, Japanese and Korean.

Yin Xin, a government spokeswoman, said expats in the city can also dial 12345 to inquire about preventive measures. This service is available in seven languages from 8 am to 8 pm daily.

Barbara Vaccaro, from Italy, who has lived with her family in Shanghai for seven years and plans to remain, said they are very impressed with the country's and the Shanghai government's efforts to care for all residents, including those from overseas.

"It looks like the local government is making a serious, well-organized effort ... Although there have been sudden changes-working from home, people wearing masks everywhere and empty restaurants-we still feel safe. It feels like a Chinese New Year break that became a bit more extreme than usual," said Vaccaro, who runs an art studio in the city.

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