Trapped in virus city
SOUTH AFRICAN: ENGLISH TEACHER LIVING IN CHINA HAS BECOME A ‘PARANOID GERMAPHOBE’
A South African teacher living in China becomes a ‘paranoid germaphobe’ since the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, while Tembisa Hospital, where 10 infants died last year, has been earmarked as one of three local facilities ‘equipped to assist with the virus’.
‘When you leave the house and go out you feel like it’s coming on to you.’
As China frantically attempts to contain the newest strain of the coronavirus, a South African living in China says she has essentially become a germaphobe anxiously waiting for the nightmare to end.
This comes as the coronavirus took China by storm when it was first detected in Wuhan, in the east of the country, on 31 December last year.
Since then, according to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), as of Sunday the infections have risen to 2 014, with 29 outside of China.
One of the people caught in the middle of the drama is a South African English teacher, who asked to remain anonymous as she waits for the Chinese and South African governments to resolve the crisis.
She said although she lived in Shenzhen, a city in the south-eastern part of China which is a fair distance from the epicentre of the outbreak in Wuhan, she was still worried because her city had also seen a number of infections.
She said her paranoia about being infected increased when she went to the local supermarket in her city to buy a mask, only to find that they had sold out.
“I’m so paranoid I don’t even want to go out because this illness is airborne. We are being told to wash our hands constantly, even in our own apartments.
“And when you leave the house and you go out it feels like it’s coming on to you and you just get very paranoid.
“When you order takeaway food, our apartment community has banned people from entering the building, so you have to go outside and get your food and when you get your food you get paranoid that the disease is stuck on the plastic!
“I find myself washing the plastics and wiping every product that I have bought. I am super paranoid.”
She said she also felt like she could not go home because the airport was a public place so she could be exposed to the virus there.
She fears that sitting in a plane for 18 hours could also expose her to the virus.
“I know some South Africans living in Wuhan had tried to reach out to Dirco [department of international relations and cooperation] and they were told they would not be evacuated. Meanwhile other countries like the United States and France are evacuating their people.”
2 014 Number of worldwide coronavirus infections, as released by institute.
TAKING PRECAUTIONS. A man rides a bicycle and wears a protective mask to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in Wuhan, on a empty road in Beijing yesterday.
WORLDWIDE FEAR. An Asian tourist wears a protective mask in the centre of Frankfurt Main, Germany, yesterday.