Love amid the battle against COVID-19

By Zhang Liying
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, February 14, 2020
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Jay Birbeck, a British graphic designer, pauses for a photo on a street in Beijing on Feb. 1, 2020. [Photo provided to]

It's the third year since Jay Birbeck moved from the U.K. to work and live in Beijing. As the coronavirus spread, the British Foreign Office urged its nationals to leave China on Feb. 5. Almost immediately, Birbeck received many concerned messages from friends and family back home.

However, he decided to stay, primarily because of his Chinese girlfriend. "I have commitments here that I can't just abandon; most importantly, my partner. Visa applications take weeks so there was no way she could come with me," said Birbeck.

For the 27-year-old graphic designer, living and working in China has offered him a wide range of new experiences. "Beijing is a fascinating and vibrant place to enjoy a modern Chinese lifestyle. Every single day I've lived here has been somehow different from the last," he said.

Dishes prepared by Jay Birbeck, a British graphic designer living and working in Beijing. [Photo provided to]

Birbeck expressed his deep sympathies for those who have suffered during the coronavirus outbreak, and gratitude for the medical professionals on the frontline as well as the people who have continued working, including taxi drivers, restaurant staff and food delivery drivers. "I hope we've seen the worst of it and that the country can begin to heal."

Asked about his plans for Valentine's Day this year, Birbeck said he would be staying at home with his girlfriend and cooking a nice meal.

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