China-based Samoan warns against complacency

By Marc Membrere 25 March 2020, 12:00PM

A Samoan living and working in China has warned citizens back home not to take the coronavirus COVID-19 threat lightly and to follow the Government’s advice.

Laki Fa'amamafa of Lauli'i, who currently teachers english and computing in Hefei City in Anhui Province, told Samoa Observer that the “coronavirus is no joke” and the public in Samoa should follow instructions disseminated by the authorities to avoid infection.

He said he acknowledges that the country is yet to record a positive case of COVID-19 but it is in everyone’s benefit that the public takes precaution.

"There have been no new cases of COVID-19 in China. Now the coronavirus is spreading around the world and I hope it doesn't reach our shores. Coronavirus is no joke, it is a serious virus. I hope people at home will take the advice of the Government. If you want to go outside, keep your distance from each other," he said.

"Avoid crowded places and if you want to go out then do a weekly shopping. We are all praying for everyone back home and around the world for your safety and to fight against the virus. Hope this time we can all stay together and do everything we can to fight against COVID-19."

China’s Anhui Province is neighbours with Hubei Province where the virus epicentre Wuhan City is located. Mr Fa'amamafa said his resident city has already recorded 900 confirmed COVID-19 cases, though he said many of the patients are recovering.

Following the outbreak of the virus late last year, he said a lot of cities in China were put in lockdown by the authorities, but are now on the recovery path and returning to normalcy.

“Most of the cities in China have been shut down for three months. The situation in China is beginning to go back to normal compared to when the outbreak first started," he added. 

"The factories, schools and transport were shut down but are now going back to their normal routines except schools. For the last three months we have been well taken care of by the government and colleagues by sharing information that we need to know. We were given hospital details to contact if we get sick."

And with the test results of seven suspected cases pending, Mr Fa'amamafa urged Samoans to unite and work together to defeat COVID-19 and take all the necessary precautions to prevent infection. 

"Even though there are no cases back home, for those who work in the hospital, make sure you wear masks. Also make sure to check your temperature and if you're sick then check it out. Don't hesitate because that's when it gets worse.”

With the schools in China closed for over two months, Mr Fa'amamafa said they are now teaching their classes online. 

He then praised the efforts China has made in fighting coronavirus and explained that cities went into lockdown to prevent any further spread of the disease.

"China has been working really hard to control the COVID-19 ever since the outbreak started. The reason why they shut down everything is for people to stay home and avoid crowded places. If you want to go shopping then you have to wear a mask otherwise you can't go into the supermarket," he added. 

By Marc Membrere 25 March 2020, 12:00PM

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