◼ A message of hope from China
AN Irish man living in China has watched first hand as the country fought to beat back the rampant spread of coronavirus and is confident Ireland can do the same.
39-year-old Karl Long from Greystones, has been living in the Chinese city of Dongguan since 2002.
Long before the first case of Covid-19 had arrived in Ireland, he had watched the epidemic spill across China, prompting the government to impose a nationwide lockdown.
But with very few new cases of coronavirus breaking out throughout the country, Mr Long said he is starting to notice a return to normality.
‘Dongguan, which has a population of 10 million, is now getting back to normal after being on lockdown for about six weeks,’ he said.
‘ There were mandatory social distancing and isolation rules, and schools, bars and restaurants were ordered to close.
‘Only one person per household was allowed go to the shops and your temperature was checked before you entered anywhere.
‘Now anyone who travels to China must go into self-quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.
‘It’s been a really crazy couple of weeks, but thankfully these measures seem to be working. In the province where I live there have been no cases of Covid-19 in about 10 days,’ he said. ‘
‘Life is getting back to normal and I can imagine schools and universities will reopen soon as well.’
Mr Long, who manages a bubblegum factory in the southern Chinese city, said Ireland can also curb the spread of the virus if everyone plays their part.
“China has proven that this virus can be curtailed providing that strict restrictions are put in place.
‘I know the majority of Irish people are following the Government’s guidelines. However, I believe stronger restrictions need to be put in place, like ordering cafés and restaurants to close instead of just advising them to.
‘What we have seen in China is just one infected person can do a lot of damage and if people are allowed to go about their usual business it will be very hard to get it under control,’ said Mr Long.
Greystones man Karl Long who is living in China.