'China deserves credit for its handling of the virus'

China Daily
Chen Zhuo
2020-02-25 15:05:27

Despite fear and hysteria in Hong Kong surrounding the novel coronavirus outbreak, two foreigners in the city have praised China's quick response to the spread of the virus.

Clarissa Langley Coleman and Maxwell Li, spoke to China Daily about China's rapid response. They also said they found some of the hysteria in the city absurd.

"I think that China deserves more credit than it is currently receiving. … Its focus around the epicentre of Wuhan is very commendable," Li told China Daily.

Stressing that these efforts were "impressive", Li also applauded the construction of Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan in only 10 days.

Echoing Li, Coleman, a film producer in Hong Kong, said it showed the resolution of the Chinese government to manage the outbreak.

"To be honest, I couldn't believe that happened until I saw the video online. Having lived around the world, I can't imagine any other country but China being able to focus on building a hospital that quickly," she said.

With news of the coronavirus breaking around Lunar New Year, Coleman was also impressed by the country's efforts to contain its spread in such a populous nation. "Chinese New Year sees the largest migration of human beings at any single time, so to be able to quickly put a lid on the spread and even shut down Hubei province is very impressive", Coleman said.

"When you compare this epidemic to SARS, the way social media is incorporated in our lives today with exchanges of information, I think we get a much more sensational situation — along with potential misinformation", Coleman added.

Ever since the novel coronavirus epidemic broke out, there have been a number of nicknames being used in the media internationally — including "the China virus" and "Kung Flu". Coleman said using such terms is irresponsible, as it "creates an opportunity for racism and discrimination".

She believes viruses frequently spread around the world and this one just happened to break out in China. But that was no reason to blame the people living there.

Li agreed. "I don't see other viruses being racially named in other places around the world," the Chinese-Canadian said.

"'Kung Flu' is just distasteful, trying to create a stereotype with a serious issue that is effectively a global pandemic now," Li said, who is a tech entrepreneur in Hong Kong. "Viruses have been sourced from all over the globe in recent years — including the H1N1 (swine flu virus) in the United States."

Misinformation spread online led to panic-buying of toilet paper and rice in Hong Kong after the city closed 11 out of 14 border ports. Supermarket shelves were emptied of certain products despite reassurances by the government of an abundant supply of food and necessities.

Despite fears of a global pandemic, Coleman and Li said they could still find some humor in Hong Kong — such as the theft of toilet paper.

"It's interesting that toilet paper ran out before more vital products ... like food", Li said.

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