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Zimbabwean student does his bit for virus battle

By Wang Keju in Beijing and Shi Ruipeng in Nanning | China Daily | Updated: 2020-02-13 09:13

Zimbabwean student Munyaradzi Gurure sprays disinfectant at a train station in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Jan 29. HUANG TAI/FOR CHINA DAILY

Editor's note: In this new series, we'd like to share stories and experiences of expats on how they are dealing with the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak.

Wearing a yellow hat and vest, along with a face mask, Munyaradzi Gurure was busy checking the body temperature of passengers at the entrance of Yulin train station in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Though overwhelmed by the news about the outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia, the 21-year-old Zimbabwean student at Guangxi University of Finance and Economics stepped out to serve as a volunteer in the station to help battle the epidemic.

"I'm well aware that the situation of epidemic prevention and control is very severe," he said. "Seeing that many people have joined in the fight, I also wanted to do my part."

His friend Li Yuzhao, who works at the station, invited Gurure to sing a song there on Jan 10, the first day of the Spring Festival travel rush, the largest seasonal human migration on the planet.

However, the outbreak in China began together with the festive travel rush, and many parts of the country have been quarantined in a bid to stem the spread of the disease.

With the number of cases continuing to rise both inside and outside China, Gurure's family back in Africa worried about his health and wanted him to quit the volunteer job.

"I told my parents that China has taken a lot of strong quarantine measures and is actually safe," he said. "I want to do whatever I can to prevent the spread of the infection. The country has taken really good care of me during the last three years. Now it's my turn."

Working about four hours a day, Gurure either carried an 8-kilogram electric sprayer to disinfect the waiting room or checked people's temperatures as they entered the train station. He makes sure they show no symptoms and wear a mask at all times.

Though it's not easy work, Gurure came across many Chinese passengers surprised to see a foreign face. But they would often give a thumbs up and give him their compliments, which encouraged him to continue his work.

After Gurure's foreign classmates found out about his volunteer work, they sent messages of encouragement and thanks. Some expressed interest in joining him to help curb the spread of the virus.

"A large number of medical workers have taken the initiative to join in treatment efforts, and many people have donated materials for epidemic prevention. I see strong national cohesion, rather than fear, in the Chinese people's fight," Gurure said.

Gurure was in China during last year's Spring Festival. He attended a concert and watched fireworks with a friend. But cities around the country canceled all large gatherings this year.

"When the epidemic is over, I just want to go outside and breathe fresh air without wearing a mask, and maybe go to another concert," he said.

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