March 24th, 2020.
COVID-19: An Update on Dominican students in China
Pursuant to our previous communiqué entitled “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): An Open Letter to the Public from Dominican Students in China”, this open letter serves to update the general public on the current situation.
The Government of The People’s Republic of China continues to work ardently to contain the spread of COVID-19, and we steadfastly observe necessary precautionary measures. The number of new cases of infection in China has significantly reduced, so much so that the temporary hospitals which were constructed in Wuhan have all been closed. Although the situation on the ground has improved, students in Wuhan, and in many other cities, remain under lock-down, so as to ensure continued safety.
The Dominican Embassy in China has provided the Dominican students in Wuhan with masks, gloves, goggles and the promise of continued food and financial support where applicable. Avenues for receiving psychological counseling have also been made known to the students, if they so wish to access that service.
We, herewith this letter, commend the efforts of the Embassy of the Commonwealth of Dominica in the People’s Republic of China, The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Commonwealth of Dominica and our respective universities for making this possible.
Being in China throughout this outbreak, it is evident that the commendable swiftness with which the disease has been contained here is due to the measures taken by the Chinese government. We hereby reiterate the importance of frequent and thorough hand washing, social distancing, and selfisolation if one has recently travelled or been in contact with someone who exhibited symptoms.
Endeavor to boost your immune systems through proper diet and physical exercise, and also be mindful of maintaining healthy mental states during this panic-inducing time. We have faith that the strength of the Dominican spirit, met with requisite precautionary measures, will see us through this.
We have compiled a list of messages from Dominican students in both the Central and the Southern Districts in China in the spirit of encouraging Dominicans during this difficult period:
- The most powerful yet concise advice I can give to fellow Dominicans is to “show consideration”. From my personal observation, the Corona virus, unlike many other pandemics that have gone before, can be rather deceptive, in that it lulls many into a state of lack of awareness. The symptoms shown by and effects on respective individuals may be so wide in range, from asymptomatic to death, that it makes detection difficult. Even individuals showing no symptoms could be infected carriers of the virus. Reported cases of the virus could be low one day then dramatically triple or even quadruple in mere days. This complexity of the corona virus causes many individuals to unintentionally be negligent, inadvertently placing those around them at risk. To many individuals the corona virus can simply be dismissed as “a mild flu” or “the common cold”. This is not the case. The most heroic act one can take during this period is to ensure the safety of the public by practicing the most basic of safety measures such as washing hands, social distancing, selfisolation, and wearing protective masks.
Perhaps it may help to adopt the mindset of one who already has the virus and practice these measures. That is how one “shows consideration”. By doing so you will be doing your big part in saving many lives.
- My advice to my fellow Dominicans would be, to stay positive but also stay cautious. Continue to wash your hands and practice proper hygiene. Some people have the notion that they won’t die from the virus because they are not elderly or do not have underlying medical conditions but fail to realize that even so they can pass it on to someone who does. One should not fail to realize as well that, you may have health conditions that you are not aware of.
Precaution is better than cure. Try to keep a supply of groceries, sanitation products etc. on hand in case of a shut down but avoid “panic buying” since that will leave others with less for themselves. The virus is not a flu even if it exhibits flu like symptoms; you could be affected and not know and go on to infect many other people. The best advice that I can give is to – stay home as much as possible, stay away from crowds, stay hygienic.
- Three months ago, the world was normal. Now the world is in chaos. This virus has reminded us that life can change in the twinkling of an eye. So be grateful for health if you have it and if you do not have it, be grateful that at least others are healthy. Show love for people, from a distance, by CONSTANTLY calling them and texting them to ensure they are OKAY and to let them know that they are loved. Spend as much time with your household members as you can indoors. Cherish the time to pray with them, talk to them, laugh with them, play board games with them etc. Life is unpredictable. Live in the present.
- To friends, family and my fellow Dominicans here are some suggestions on how I kept myself safe, healthy and Coronavirus-free. I wore a surgical or N95 mask whenever I went outdoors, along with a pair of disposable gloves. When out in public I tried to avoid unnecessary touching or getting too close to people. Most importantly, I avoided touching my face until I got home and washed my hands properly with soap and water. I also disinfect my grocery bags and groceries before entering my room. Disinfecting is very important. In terms of staying healthy, I exercise daily, stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, taking vitamins supplements, eating as much fruits and vegetables as possible along with ginger tea and at least two garlic cloves. I avoid going outside unless I have to go shopping. I encourage everyone to please wear your masks, whether you have flu like symptoms or not. If you do have flu like symptoms contact a nurse or doctor as soon as possible. Don’t try to treat it with natural remedies and say “it’s just a cold.” Exercise daily – even a little walking or jogging helps keep your body strong. In case of self-quarantine, try keeping a calm mind. I suggest reading books, or finding other indoor activities to keep yourself entertained. Lastly, I encourage everyone to be safe, take care of each other and keep on praying.
- I encourage fellow Dominicans to try as much as possible to contain anxiety and be particularly mindful of mental health, as much as we focus on the physical. At this time, it is important that we make counseling therapy readily available as well. Keep oneself informed, but be cautious to limit consumption of sensational media stories which aren’t factual. While keeping socially distant, let’s not harden our hearts. Keep the spirit of being each other’s keepers, by being a source of inspiration and light to others, checking up on each other, helping to meet the needs of the underprivileged and being the gatekeepers of our communities’/country’s well-being.
General advice reiterated by students include:
- Limit time spent on social media
- Take the necessary precautionary (respiratory/ hygienic) measures
- Keep active
- Stay positive
- Practice social distancing
- Read and Watch movies/ Netflix
- Meditation to help with anxiety/pain
God bless the Good People of Dominica and Our Government! God bless the people of the People’s Republic of China and their Government!
(Dominica Student Council – China)