Bilingual service in Shanghai helps expat arrivals understand virus regulations

Published:  24 Feb at 6 PM
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Expats in Shanghai are keen to volunteer for a bilingual service aimed at newly arrived foreigners.

As across most of China’s massive cities, Shanghai locals and expats alike are now returning after the extended Spring Festival holiday. In an attempt to curb even more coronavirus infections, new procedures have been put in place at the city’s railway terminals. A team of bilingual volunteers is now meeting with non-Chinese travellers and explaining how to navigate the health declaration and other new requirements.

The volunteer teams include Chinese who’ve studied overseas, teachers from bilingual schools, nurses working in international hospitals, English-proficient government officials and university students. The first volunteer vacancies were filled fast, with 50 applying in the first three hours, 43 selected and the remainder kept in reserve. The teams will be in place at six checkpoints between 8 am and 10 pm, and expats in Shanghai with language skills are also requesting their inclusion in the scheme.

Announcements about the new requirements are at present only being broadcast in the Chinese language, but volunteer leader Lu Huiwen is hoping broadcasts in the English language will soon follow. She added the volunteers will also be helping community social workers and committee officials communicate with the city’s large expatriate community. Document translation is also an issue, as are individual questions asked by foreigners living and working in Shanghai, with Lu telling local media her group will be communicating with the government as regards improving expat services during the crisis.
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