China-based SA teacher says quarantine necessary

Ndumiso Chili spent 52 days quarantined in his apartment in China.
Ndumiso Chili spent 52 days quarantined in his apartment in China.

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in SA are on the rise and the country is preparing for the worst.

But a SA citizen living in China is getting ready to get back to class after being quarantined for 52 days.

Ndumiso Nkosingiphile Chili, 25, said during nearly two months of life behind closed doors, he only had his phone, TV and internet to make sense of daily life.

The English teacher said: "China has been on lockdown for almost three months which means there was nothing functional in the country besides healthcare facilities. I was not allowed to go outside, I had to stay in my apartment [relying] on my phone, TV and internet to communicate [and follow world events]."

He said residents in the complex where he lives - in the city of Xi'an in central China - organised a committee of people to assist tenants to buy groceries and other necessities.

"We had to transfer money to the landlord who allocated the funds to the committee and the food was delivered to our doorsteps. No visitors were allowed and it was hurting to see people losing their family members," he said.

Chili, who is originally from KwaZulu-Natal and studied at the University of Pretoria, said workers have been paid a minimum wage as Covid-19 continues to hit the Chinese economy very hard.

"It has hit us financially, emotionally and spiritually because schools are still closed. However, we understand the most important part is to stay safe and healthy. I could not even go home, my family felt helpless..."

Chili said it worried him to see people posting on social media that they would go hibernate in rural areas should the virus outbreak prove to be uncontainable.

"That is just unfair. People infected in the rural areas have minimal knowledge about the virus and will therefore be vulnerable to exposure, in areas with sparse medical centres. People can quarantine themselves and just make sure they have enough food and drinks."

He said the virus required a complete change of behaviour and discipline.

"I am concerned about our elders who are informal traders. Our parents survive by selling vegetables on the streets, at taxi ranks and train stations, and are therefore overly exposed to possible infection. You can imagine how things will be if Covid-19 gets to informal trading," Chili said.

He feels that South African government should have worked with the municipalities to identify families that need to be assisted with food and immune boosters.

"People really need to be careful as the virus begins with one person. Keep yourself safe by staying indoors."

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