Samoans in Wuhan safe, student assures

A Samoan studying at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology in China has has assured her family and friends that all students in the region stricken by the coronavirus are safe and well.

Speaking from Wuhan amidst growing fears about the coronavirus, Camilla Taufaasau, of Tiavi, said the students “are not in immediate danger.”

Ms. Taufaasau is among nearly 10 million residents in the city which local authorities shut down last Thursday in a bid to contain the spread of the virus throughout the country. All public transport was also stopped. 

A group of ten students have been studying in the city in central China, according to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (M.F.A.T.) last week, but four have left the city for the lunar new year holiday. 

Those who remain now face a long uncertain wait as the city goes into shutdown to contain the virus.

“All of us have stocked up enough food and water and we all keep in contact daily,” said Ms. Taufaasau said in an interview with Samoa Observer. 

“All six of us have been advised to stay indoors, avoid crowded areas and wear masks every time we go outside.”

The students are also closely monitored by Samoa’s Embassy in Beijing and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Samoa.

“We are doing great and are in constant contact with the Samoan Embassy in Beijing as well as our school teachers who have been assigned to help us should we need any help.”

Ms. Taufaasau said the only downside of staying indoors is they sleep right throughout the day. 

“There really is nothing else we can do other than to wait this virus out and take precautions,” she said. 

Furthermore, the student. who has been in Wuhan for four years, said there has been a lot of misinformation about food shortages in Wuhan. 

She said there is no shortage of food or water.

There are reportedly about 2000 confirmed cases of the virus in Wuhan, the city which was the epicentre of a virus that has now spread to at least 13 countries. 

Ms. Taufaasau said Wuhan this week has had a different feel from previous winter breaks she has spent in the city. 

She added what were once the busiest areas of Wuhan turned into a ghost town. 

Queries sent to the M.F.A.T. Chief Executive Officer, Peseta Noumea Simi, were not responded to by press time. 

However, in a recent press release, the Ministry confirmed that all Samoan students studying in Wuhan are well and precautionary measures are taken to ensure safety of the Samoans. 

“All students are on their winter break and as such, 4 students from Wuhan have travelled abroad during the holiday break with 6 remaining in the city,” says the press release.

“The Samoa Embassy continues to monitor the situation of the students and are considering relocation to Beijing when the travel ban is lifted.

“All students are well and advised to observe precautionary measures such as using face masks, keeping away from crowded areas, and restricting movements out of their university compounds to necessity”.

A total of 4,515 cases have been confirmed in mainland China with 106 people are dead. 

There are full or partial lockdowns in 15 Chinese cities in an effort to limit the virus' spread.

On Tuesday the first case of the virus was confirmed in Germany, a spokesman for the Bavarian Health Ministry confirmed.




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