Quarantined tourists across China taken care of as country battles epidemic outbreak

EYEAFRICA TV: Tianjin Municipality, north China: Tourists that are quarantined across China are taken care of by the local government as the country is facing a fierce battle against the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The virus that has been making the headlines for days suddenly crashed into customs official Tan Xuliang’s life on Jan 25 when he was informed by Malindo Air that a flight heading his way contains 31 tourists from Wuhan.

Hoping for the best and yet preparing for the worst, Tan, as the deputy director of Tianjin Customs, immediately assembled his team and lined up with the local Tianjin Airport for emergency response.

“We dispatched two staff to get on the plane and do tests. All passengers are required to fill in health forms. Secondly, we took the body temperature of all passengers. Three of them were feverish. One was an elderly from Hubei Province’s Wuhan City who had a fever above 38 degrees Celsius. The two others who are non-Wuhan natives had a low fever,” Tan recalled.

The three patients were immediately transferred to the designated hospitals, where one of them was later confirmed to have the virus, making the fourteenth in north China’s Tianjin Municipality.

The two other tourists, along with the plane crew, were quarantined according to standard procedure. Now, the remaining 174 people including the plane crew have been accommodated in four hotels and looked after by medical staff.

“We would take their body temperature twice a day and inform the doctor of abnormal conditions, if any. The body temperature of the people under observation now fluctuates between 36 and 37 degrees Celsius,” said Zhao Xiujuan, a medical staff member at the observation station.

To avoid any cross-infection, staff from the local disease and control department sterilizes the hotel hall, corridors and elevators every day.

Tourists stranded in Harbin City, northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, are also taken under the wings of the locals government, which designated 18 hotels to house them.

The local Chuntian Hotel is one of the many that has become a temporary home to 24 tourists. Just like the stranded in other parts of China, the tourists were asked to measure their body temperatures as soon as they arrived at Harbin’s entrance.

Four were detected with abnormally high body temperature and sent to designated fever clinics. Other were sent to Chuntian Hotel, where they started their fortnight-long quarantine.

To ease the nerves of the people under observation, a package containing vital supplies was provided to them daily, including free food, toothpaste, tissue paper and shampoo. To make them feel less trapped, the supply bag comes with a hand-written comfort note that says words like “My dear fellow, have you smiled today?” and “Breath the same air, we share the same fate.”

“We wrote them this afternoon. Back then we wanted to say something from the heart. This is the way we communicate with everybody every day,” said Liu Zhaohui, the manager of Chuntian Hotel.

Fearing that the comforting words would not be enough to fill in the void of being far from home, local health authorities also set up a Wechat group and pulled in experts to provide psychological counseling for the tourists.

Such measures have met with a heartfelt response.

“I’m pretty anxious. I want to go home but I can’t. The local government brought consolation. There’s really nothing to worry about here. You don’t have to worry about food or clothes. So I wanted to express my gratitude,” said Wu Jingming, a tourist from Hubei Province who is currently under observation.

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