Having been evacuated from Wuhan — the epicentre of the novel Coronavirus — with the help of officials from the Embassy of Oman in Beijing, Omani students have spoken about the worries they had about the Coronavirus infecting them while they were in China.
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The students are currently in quarantine at Al Basheer Hospital in Amman, having arrived on Saturday, February 1, where they are being observed for symptoms of the Coronavirus. Speaking from the Jordanian capital, an Omani student, who wished to remain anonymous, said,
“We began our preparations to depart on January 31 at 11 am. All the people gathered in a university adjacent to my university, but a curfew had been imposed at that time, so it was not possible to move out in the streets without prior permission from the Chinese authorities.
“I moved to a neighbouring university with the help of a Jordanian girl, who took me on her bike with another girl, so we were three girls on one bike, while other Omani students took my luggage and went ahead of me to other university. All of us were then transferred from the university campus to the airport, where we arrived at around 4 pm. There were 76 of us. It took us a lot of time at the airport because of the tough screening procedures that had been implemented.”
The Omani students said they’d first heard of the Coronavirus in December 2019.
However, the university they were attending reportedly played down their concerns of the disease, which has so far killed nearly 500 people around the world, while there have been 24,554 reported cases, according to the World Health Organization.
“At first, actually the university did not tell us the entirety of the truth about this virus,” admitted another Omani student. “They only told us that it was just a flu, and that we needed to wear masks all the time. They asked students to not go out at all, or to meet with others in the university, or leave our premises, so that we could stay healthy. They gave all of us free masks.
“I came to know it was the Coronavirus on 18 January, and the university only confirmed this on the 20th” added this student. “I then called the Omani embassy in Beijing to ask for more information and they told me that a quarantine had been imposed in Wuhan city, with no one being allowed to enter or leave, or to move anywhere, so we waited until instructions came to us from the embassy, as they had begun organising their evacuation plan with the Jordanians. We stayed at the university for a full week.”
The Omani students added that although they didn’t have any immediate family members in Amman, they were in contact with them almost every day.
“At the beginning of December, we heard about the virus, and were informed about it,” said an Omani student, “But he did not tell us the details. He advised us not to go out to theatres and avoid the celebrations of the Chinese New Year, due to the large crowds making it easier to transmit the disease. Some students did go out, but others did not, and I was one of the latter.”
“We would like to thank Ms Warda Al Shaqsi at the Omani Embassy in China, and His Excellency the Omani Ambassador to China, and all the staff at the Omani Embassy in Jordan, as well as the King of Jordan, all the Jordanian institutions and bodies that hosted us, and all the Jordanian students for their kindness.”
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