Published: 24th January 2020
This Indian student escaped China a few days before the coronavirus outbreak — but his brother is still stuck there
China has reported almost 26 coronavirus deaths. 830 people are admitted in various hospitals, after getting infected
Sitting in their home in Delhi, Dev Kumar's parents count their blessings, while holding their son tight. A film studies student at the Beijing Film Academy, Dev had come home for his holidays just last week — a few days before the Coronavirus outbreak in China.
"I got to know about the outbreak only about four weeks ago. This was a pre-planned vacation," says Dev. "My parents keep on telling me how lucky we are. I got to go home at the right time," he adds. But at the same time, Dev's older brother is still in China. "Obviously we aren't completely relieved. We're constantly calling my brother and making sure that he's taking all the right precautions to stay safe. He's a chef and has booked his tickets to come to India by mid-February," he says.
Unsurprisingly, Dev's friends in China are worried about the current situation. At least 26 people in the country had died in the past week, after having being infected by the virus. A frightening 830 patients have been admitted in hospitals after getting infected, reports BBC. A number of cities in the country are under lockdown and travel restrictions have been imposed. "All universities including mine have published advisories for the students. They have been asked to wear masks all the time, not travel and not eat certain food items," says Dev.
What is he thinking right now? "We are trying to provide all the information available to the people there. That's the least we could do," he says. Dev also notices a rising issue of fake news in this situation. "Everyone's panicking and the students are forwarding links without verifying it," he notes. Of the cities in China, Wuhan houses a lot of Indian medical students. "There are around 1,200 Indian medicos in Wuhan. The situation is pretty serious there. The city is under a lockdown now. It is 1,500 km away from Beijing, where the Indian embassy is, making matters worse," he says.
Dev has booked his tickets to return to China by the end of February. "I hope to go back by that time, even though my parents are asking me not to go back at all," he says. "However, I believe that everything will be fine by then if everyone takes proper precautions," he adds.