◼ A mes­sage of hope from China

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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