Expats in Beijing volunteering to help combat the virus

Published:  13 Mar at 6 PM
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Bilingual international expats living and working in Beijing are joining in the huge city’s war against the coronavirus pandemic.

Beijing’s expat population is set at almost 150,000 and contains some 37,000 international organisations. Rather than returning to their home countries when the outbreak began, many have decided to stay in the city and defend their ‘second home’ and its residents against the deadly infection.

The massive city's Chaoyang District’s nickname is the ‘embassy area’, and is home to some 60,000 residents spread over six housing compounds. Some 10,000 residents are expatriates from as many as 93 world countries, and the area is also home to 15 embassies, two international organisations and several institutions. One 10-year expat resident living in the area speaks Spanish, English and Chinese, and is also working in a local hospital.

After the pandemic began, she volunteered to use her medical knowledge to educate her neighbourhood residents about the virus and the best ways to prevent its spread. She’s also making multi-language posters displaying preventative measures, and is taking temperatures as a matter of course.

One Canadian teacher of English has set up online English classes for her students now that all schools in the area are closed, and others are using the internet to spread the worldwide increase in knowledge about the virus and how to avoid becoming a victim. Local Chinese authorities have announced foreigners living in the city will be included in its health management systems in order to increase its efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
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