SEU Story:Diary of Sami Iqbal: My days in China during the 2019 NCP epidemic outbreak

By 吴婵Viewed 515 2020-02-12

Hi, my name is Sami basically from Pakistan and I am a Ph.D. student at Southeast University, Nanjing. I am living in China as a full-time student since 2015. Its already been more than four years in China. I love Nanjing city more than any other in China. I use to call it my second home. Well, these days everyone is scared because of the outbreak break of an epidemic from the Chinese city of Wuhan due to novel coronavirus also referred to as “NCP”.

Due to this outbreak these days people are living a life of strangers even with those who were very close to them just 2 months ago. Everyone is doubting each other for carrying this virus and afraid to go close to anyone scared of being in contact with the virus. The road, streets, subway, shopping malls, restaurants all the commercial places and activities are closed. Some time is very hard to find some food items like vegetables etc. For me, it is a new situation I am facing in my life because we never see this kind of epidemic outbreak in Pakistan ever. So I last few days I was very scared and one night I feel very nervous and my heartbeat was very fast so I was thinking my blood pressure is spiking then I asked my cousin he is also a medical student he takes me to doctor to see my blood pressure and also perform my ECG I wanted to confirm there is no problem because I knew myself I was taking a lot of mental stress and go through trauma. But the next day I was fine and in good health. I learned how to control my thoughts and keep myself busy.

Talking about the control of this epidemic outbreak I must appreciate the struggle of the Chinese government they are putting all of their effort and resources to curb the situation and control the spread of the outbreak. The Chinese doctors and scientist are trying their best while working day and night to formulate a vaccine that can cure the disease caused by this nCOV virus. I was very happy to know that yesterday (Thursday, 6. February) the clinical trials start for the vaccination of infected people, I hope and pray that it could be effective against the virus.

I live in a foreign student’s dormitory of Southeast University most of my foreign friends left the dorm and gone back home because they were scared. But I choose to stay in Nanjing despite my parents ask me to come back but I always encourage them and insist to stay at school. As a professor from Tsinghua University suggests three kinds of infected people A, B and C according to him A and C are easy to be find out and isolated but B is very hard to find out and he could be the reason for spreading the outbreak even without knowing it. So that’s why I avoid any travel either by train or Plane and I also encourage the school administration to make decision for total lockdown. Our dorm manager and international cooperation teacher Mr. Wang and Mr. Cai and all the teachers are taking care of us like a family.

At this crucial time and faded hope, I was very disappointed by the social media plate forms especially the microblogs website they share a lot of negative thoughts and rumors about this nCOV virus and its spread. Which make a lot of foreign people hopeless and feel very scared my friend Azam a few days ago he called me and share his concern about the epidemic and I try all my best to calm him down and encourage him to control his thoughts because everything is going to be fine very soon. I think this epidemic has not created that much panic and doubts as much it was created by these social media and microblogs just to increase their ratings and get advertisements by increasing the number of their readers. I think it was unethical to give too much hype to this epidemic by these microblogs.

I volunteer to support my school in controlling the dormitory premises to stop the entrance of strangers and also provide some safety equipment like masks and thermometer and encourage those who are scared and worried because of this outbreak. I feel happy and proud when I talk and encourage my country mates and other foreign students because when you give hope to somebody there is nothing more precious than it. So, I want to say this to all being as human we must support each other and encourage each other to control our thoughts and not panic. Follow the simple safety precautions to stay safe. Many countries send medical supplies to China such as surgical masks, protective coats and other necessary supplies needed by Chinese government and my country Pakistan is one of them which makes me proud of our friendship. People and students from Pakistan and all over the world send messages and encouragement to Chinese people and it’s government to stay strong and keep fighting.

Trust me this is not for the first time China is facing such kind of problem and we believe together we can go through this time. When we do, every one of us will be proud of ourselves because it would be a lifetime experience for us. It will make us a very strong person morally and mentally and we will be ready for anything like this in the future.



Sami Iqbal

Ph.D. student at Southeast University

Nanjing, P. R. China.

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