Chinese students in Kazakhstan hope locals better protect themselves

By GT staff reporter Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/10 19:33:41

A man gets registered before taking COVID-19 test at a mobile test site in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, June 16, 2020. Kazakhstan sets up new mobile rapid swab test sites to fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

Many Chinese students in Kazakhstan expressed eagerness to return to China, especially after the Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan on Thursday warned Chinese citizens in the country of a local pneumonia of unknown cause based on local media reports.

Chinese students also voiced concern that many local residents did not fully follow personal protection guidelines amid the epidemic, as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Kazakhstan. 

Chen Qianghui, a Chinese student at Kazakh-British Technical University in Almaty, told the Global Times on Friday that he and his Chinese friends are more "eager" to return home after reading the notice from the Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan on Thursday.

Chen has long wanted to return home, and submitted an application to the Chinese consulate general in Almaty at the end of June for a flight seat as there is no flight between the two countries at the moment. He said on Monday they were informed by the consulate general that their application to return home has been submitted to related authorities, and have submitted airline applications to the authorities.

In a screenshot that Chen provided to the Global Times reporter, staff working at the consulate general in the city told them to wait patiently, and would update them on flights to China. 

Since March, Chen and his Chinese friends spent most of their time at school dormitories, and only went out twice a week to buy food and other necessities. The Chinese consulate general in the city also offered them protection kits. 

Many local people in Kazakhstan do not follow anti-epidemic protocols or wear facial masks in public, Chen said. 

Kazakhstan has reported 54,747 COVID-19 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University on Friday afternoon.

Aware of the severe challenges the country faces, Kazakhstan's government also cautioned its citizens of the coronavirus risks. 

On July 2, Kazakhstan re-imposed a lockdown which would last two weeks.

Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin said the same day the measures would include the closure of all shops, except for supermarkets and pharmacies, and restrictions on public transport in cities including Nur-Sultan, Almaty and Karaganda.

Another Chinese student studying in Almaty told the Global Times on Friday that she was "not panicking" when this so-called unknown pneumonia was reported, but the COVID-19 outbreak situation has become more severe in Kazakhstan since the country gradually lifted the lockdown. But many residents have not fully followed personal protection guidelines and control measures. 

"I stay most of time at school, barely go downtown or shopping, as most of the daily necessities can be ordered online," she said. She noted that some of her Chinese friends intend to return to China, but she decided to stay.


blog comments powered by Disqus