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Chinese Workers In Russia 'sit on a fire' Over Covid-19



The 500 Chinese laborers in the city of Khabarovsk, in the Far East, decided to lock themselves in the motel room as Covid-19 continued to spread in Russia. 
"Of course, we really want to go home," said Liu Haijun, 50, from Tuy Fei Ha City, Heilongjiang Province, speaking by phone from a building called Tianyu Hostel. "But the border was closed and flights canceled, there were reports of people being infected on the way back and because my business was here, we had to stay in Russia and protect ourselves."
The situation of Covid-19 in Russia has worsened, prompting some 150,000 Chinese citizens to choose between entrenching or finding their way back to the country, where the epidemic is almost under control.   

Thousands decided to return, including 2,443 people in Tuy Phan Ha, carrying a wave of infection that forced the government to close the border with Russia and blockade the city. On April 16, nearly all shops were closed.
Liu said most Chinese people in Russia know how the disease had devastated the city of Wuhan, where Covid-19 originated.  
"But most Russians don't know it. They still go out without a mask, kiss, say hello. If someone has the virus, many people will definitely be infected," said Liu, who runs a Garment business in Russia for 23 years, said.
President Vladimir Putin proposed that Russians work from home on April 1 and many localities across the country have imposed a blockade. People are required to keep their distance and food stores apply strict social spacing rules. Many Russians wear masks, although pharmacies say they are out of stock.

On April 17, Russia recorded a record increase of more than 4,000 new nCoV infections within 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases in the country to more than 32,000. Officials warn Moscow is still two to three weeks away from the peak of the epidemic.  

Russia received much criticism from China for how to respond to Covid-19. The Global Times recently published an article saying that Russia did not make every effort to prevent the disease from spreading.   
"We do not agree with this criticism," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday. 
China has banned foreigners from entering and is trying to prevent cases of foreign imports from people returning from abroad. Shanghai authorities this week said 60 people on an Aeroflot flight from Moscow were infected with nCoV.   

When the Chinese host in Khabarovsk suggested on a chat group that everyone should quarantine themselves, nearly all agreed, Liu said.
"The owner of the motel locked the electronic gate. If he entered, he could not get out. If he left, he could not come back. We did not want anyone to bring the virus here," Liu said.

This "internal and external and external" measure is similar to Wuhan, a city of 11 million people. People living in Mr. Liu's lodge can only buy basic supplies at a small shop on the spot. Everything else the host will take to order and deliver it to the gate.

Although not forced by the landlord, they still follow Chinese medical instructions such as wearing a mask, keeping a distance when walking in the parking lot. Liu said Chinese Consulate officials in Khabarovsk recently came to collect personal information and asked them to contact them if they needed assistance. Meanwhile, local officials did not contact.
Health workers took a sample for nCoV testing in Tuy Phan Ha city on April 16. Photo: Reuters
Wang Jingwen, 33, a tour guide in the city of St Petersburg for two years, decided to leave because the work was too humid and was not confident that the Russian health system could cope with the outbreak.

At the end of March, she flew from St Petersburg to Novosibirsk, then to Vladivostok, where she and other Chinese people took a 3-hour bus ride to Tuy Fei Ha.
"My work often goes back, but this is the first time I'm really happy to see the words 'Chinese Customs'," Wang said.
At Tuy Phong Ha inspection post, she reported the movement schedule, her health condition and took a throat fluid sample. She was isolated for 14 days in a hotel and measured her daily temperature. After two negative tests, Wang was allowed to go home to Chengdu.

Mr. Liu also wants to go home.
"My parents are old and sick. If anyone is willing to buy my inventory for half the price, I'll sell it in a split second to go home," he said.


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