Wuhan Diaries: Student tells of lockdown, bad food and the fear of the imminent quarantinePHOTO: Jason Scragz

Wuhan Diaries: Student tells of lockdown, bad food and the fear of the imminent quarantine

News & Features

As students in Wuhan anxiously await the go-ahead to fly home to South Africa, cabin fever sets in as their movements are severely restricted. They are isolated in their rooms and worry about the planned quarantine period. According to the latest update by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, nobody has tested positive yet for the COVID-19 virus in South Africa.

Stuck in his dorm eating bad food, a South African student in Wuhan says he is turning to God to stop his anxiety and surfs the internet to
increase his knowledge of Covid-19, but he fears that the South African government’s quarantine after their repatriation might not be pleasant.
“I am confined to my dorm a lot. I am not allowed to go anywhere outside because of the lockdown. So the only two places that I can go are
two dorm buildings and downstairs to fetch food.

“The food has not changed since the 25th of January. It is making us sick but we have no choice but to eat it. We either have to eat it or starve.”
The student said when the first news emerged of the virus outbreak his family was concerned.
“When my mom and aunt asked me how China was, I told them that all is well. When they asked me about the virus, I told them not to stress
because the disease can be cured with certain antibiotics. Only to discover then that certain Chinese news outlets were lying and there was no cure. By the end of January I had done so much research on this Covid-19 that I knew that most, if not all, the news covered by the Chinese news outlets were absolutely false and misleading. This placed me in an immediate state of panic and paranoia, which got worse as many of my Chinese friends were sending me videos of the hospitals and what was really going on.

“The veil was removed from my eyes and I sought the truth and it led me down a rabbit hole. I think I am still in there. I have discovered many things about the efficacies of how the Chinese operate, not just them but the rest of the world’s governments. “I was very stressed, anxious and paranoid. That is until I remembered who I am. I am an anointed child of God.

“The worst day that I had since quarantine was when I was served bad food. Because of how fast the lockdown happened, I was unable to make
the necessary preparations. Therefore I had nothing else to eat. I placed a request for better food, but my request fell on deaf ears. The food
started making me sick and I again sent a request for better food. As before, my request fell on deaf ears. “I then started hearing from other people that they too were getting sick as a result of consuming the food. Some are getting stomach cramps, some are having ulcers, some diarrhoea and others nausea.

“We had no choice but to eat the food because we were not allowed to go outside or to go shopping. We are also not allowed to go outside to access cash machines so that we can upload money to our WeChat applications. They have opened a store for us with some limited products.
“We knew that we were being sold rejects and products that the store could not sell, before – under normal circumstances.”
The student told Maverick Citizen he was concerned about the SouthAfrican forms they had to fill in as all the paperwork is stamped
“confidential”.

“After the president spoke, the relevant entities were contacted and the evacuation process has been set in motion. We were instructed to
forward our information to three separate department of international relations email addresses.
“Judging from the minister’s statements, in his address, it seems that we won’t be allowed access to our phones. One can just imagine what is
going to happen there that it is so confidential that we cannot even share it with our loved ones and the public.

“My guess, is that we are going to be subjected to harsh conditions and we won’t have evidence of any of the occurrences because we won’t have
access to our devices.” He said he wasn’t afraid of flying home – even if there were infected people on the plane. “No, I am not scared because I have done extensive research on the virus and I know how it spreads (or so I believe). I recently received a message from a military friend and what he shared is horrendous and I am trusting in the Lord to guide and protect me, under his blood. If I am on a flight with someone who is infected. I will take the necessary precautions and Covid-19 shall not come near me,” he said.

“According to the government procedure we are to go through quarantine, as soon as we land. And I have been on many flights. First thing that the air crew usually does is to spray disinfectant. So, I believe that I will be safe. He said he knew of a South African student who was pressured into leaving as he had been on campus illegally. “Officials told him to repatriate himself.”

He said by the time this student got to the airport he was taken to hospital because he had a fever and he was from Wuhan. “He was then kept in the hospital for about 3-5 days and the necessary tests were done on him. But the hospital staff were so paranoid about his state of health that they were making mistakes. There was even a day when they dropped his vial of blood. After a couple of days, he was awarded a Covid-19-free certificate and was allowed on a flight to South Africa. He said another friend did the same thing and he also made it home.

Another student who spoke to Maverick Citizen said she was suffering from severe cabin fever.
“I am a very active person. It is very hard for me to sit here all day and not be able to do anything.” Department of Health spokesperson Popo Maja said South Africans being repatriated to South Africa from Wuhan will receive counselling if they need it and psychologists will be part of the team looking after them while they are in quarantine.

In the latest update provided by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, the statement confirmed that 164 patients had been tested for Covid-19 and all tests were negative. “We have noted the increase of Covid-19 cases in the African region and the route of transmissions. An additional country – Senegal – has confirmed its first case from a French national in the past 24 hours. Working with the African Union and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, South Africa has participated in workshops with fellow member states to expand planning and preparation for Covid-19 within the African region. This will strengthen surveillance and integrate the sharing of information regarding Covid-19 in Africa,” the statement
read.