Pudong local authorities rush to help expats isolated by the coronavirus

Published:  23 Feb at 9 AM
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Expats in Shanghai are applauding Chinese efforts to make their lives in quarantine far easier.

Shanghai’s Pudong New Area is one of the massive city’s favourite locations for resident expats, but the coronavirus panic has placed the entire community under lockdown and unable to leave their homes, even to get much-needed supplies of food. Luckily, the Chinese authorities are fully aware of their predicament and are doing all they can to help.

During an English language media interview last Wednesday, social worker Jin Yun said one of the most urgent concerns was that expats were unable to get face masks as foreigners are unable to register online to buy the masks as they don’t have Chinese ID cards. After Jin’s intervention, expats can now purchase masks online by using their passports to register. Another major issue was that all supermarkets were closed and expats were unable to use Chinese language online grocery apps.

After social workers had informed the administration of the issue, Pudong’s commission for agriculture quickly launched an English language version of the popular online PDA Fresh Grocery website. Visa issues were also on the expat agenda, with one foreign university teacher who’d gone home for the Spring Festival unable to get back to Shanghai as all direct flights had been cancelled. In addition, his visa was due to run out at the end of the month.

Advice was given as regards entering China from a third country after applying online for a work permit, then renewing his work permit and visa once he was back in Pudong. In appreciation for the help the foreign community in Shanghai has received, expats are now applying as community volunteers in order to spread the word about the best ways to get help from the local authority at this difficult time.

Expats have also donated face masks bought online, with one resident foreign businessman purchasing 750,000 surgical masks from overseas and donating them to Hubei province.
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