Photo diary: an international student in China during the coronavirus outbreak

Being at university in China during the coronavirus outbreak has been a real challenge. Areas that were once buzzing with students are now empty, writes Sushant Shrestha

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Sushant Shrestha

February 26 2020
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It has been hard to be here in Shanghai during the Covid-19 outbreak, but I am hopeful. 

Things have slowly started improving in Shanghai. The Tongji University campus supermarket is now open, and we can easily purchase food, drinks and stationery between 10am and 2pm. The number of new cases in Shanghai is reported to have subsided, and everyone seems hopeful that this epidemic will be over soon. 

We have started taking online classes on WeChat and Zoom, and students seem less frightened and more optimistic. The vigilance is still strict and all students are required to have their temperature tested before entering and leaving their dorms. Once in a while, dormitory officials even visit rooms to disinfect the floors and make sure students are healthy. We have also been discouraged from meeting in big groups to limit the spread of the virus. 

Here are my observations as an international student in this situation:

1. The physical environment is cold and gloomy, but our hearts are warm. All thanks to those “unsung heroes” and brave medical personnel who are working day and night to combat this illness. 

2. It is difficult to see the narrow-mindedness and racism that has come with the outbreak. 

3. It is difficult being confined to our dormitories but we are grateful to the medical professionals working tirelessly to treat those who have been affected. 

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A student trying to pass time by playing with his drone on campus

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The gloomy weather and deserted running track at Tongji University. Before the epidemic, this place was brimming with students and sport enthusiasts.

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A vacant seat at the park. Every time I have been here before it has been full.

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A friend having a rest after purchasing food and drinks from the store.

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The dormitory officials checking our temperature and making sure that we do not forget to enter our names in the book recording our entry.

Read more: Experiencing the coronavirus outbreak as an international student in China

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