Woman dismissed by US employer for traveling to China against COVID-19 health guidelines
Published: Mar 20, 2020 02:04 PM

Photo: Li Hao/GT

Despite the epidemic easing in China through nationwide efforts, the number of infections imported from overseas has created growing uncertainty in the country's battle against the epidemic.

Beijing reported 21 confirmed imported coronavirus cases on March 18, nearly 10 times more than the two cases first reported on February 29. In the past three weeks, particularly last week, there has been a significant increase in imported infections, according to a news conference on the prevention and control of the epidemic in Beijing.

As imported cases rise, some irresponsible individuals have made combating the virus even harder. Beijing reported a confirmed case imported from the US on March 13. Li, a 37-year-old woman and a longtime Massachusetts resident, had developed symptoms while in the US and took antipyretics before boarding her flight to China. She did not disclose her symptoms until two hours before landing.

US company Biogen on Thursday told a reporter with the Southern Metropolis Daily that its staff member, Li, had been dismissed as she made a personal decision to travel to China without informing the company and in defiance of guidelines from health experts, and as her behavior had been inconsistent with the company's values. 

Another imported case that has received widespread attention is that of a 47-year-old Australian woman surnamed Liang, who breached Beijing coronavirus quarantine rules by jogging outside her home, drawing massive criticism online for her inappropriate behavior. Liang was immediately dismissed by her employer, Bayer China, and was later asked to leave the country.

Bayer said it fully supports the Chinese government and people's efforts to fight the novel coronavirus, which is now raging around the world, and asked all of its employees to strictly comply with local government measures.

Both Bayer and Biogen are pharmaceutical companies, and their employees know more about the outbreaks in other countries than the general public, which is likely why they chose to come to China, netizens commented.

However, preventing the spread of the virus calls for everyone to consciously participate in and obey epidemic regulations. Should any individual act irresponsibly, their actions will affect not only themselves but the whole country, and they will be held accountable for their behavior.

Global Times

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