SCIO briefing on the health and security of Chinese students overseas during the COVID-19 outbreak

The State Council Information Office held a press conference in Beijing on April 2 to brief the media on the health and security of Chinese students living overseas during the COVID-19 outbreak. April 6, 2020

Economic Daily:

If chartered flights are arranged to help overseas Chinese students return home, how can we ensure they are safe during their flight and after they arriving at the airport? Thank you.

Zhang Yang:

Thank you. To make sure they stay healthy, experts suggest that they should carry personal protection equipment with them, such as masks and quick-drying hand sanitizer, if available. They should avoid touching their mouth, nose and eyes with their hands, and they should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing; they can also sneeze into their elbow. Masks should be worn throughout their return trip, except for when they pass through the security check. After completing facial recognition, they should put their masks back on immediately and finish the security check as quickly as possible. Stairs or escalators are preferred, and they should keep at least one meter of distance between themselves and others. Face-to-face communication should also be avoided. If they do choose to take elevators, some distance must be maintained between passengers and crowds should be avoided. They should also pay attention to hand hygiene and avoid directly touching public facilities, such as doorknobs or elevator buttons; if they do, they should wash their hands or use quick-drying hand sanitizer as quickly as possible. Masks should be worn during their flight and while waiting for it, and during this time they should try to eat as little as possible. Thank you.

Hu Kaihong:

The next question will be the last question for today.

China Education Television:

We've noticed that some overseas Chinese students have experienced panic and anxiety due to the pandemic. Could Mr. Tian share with us some suggestions from the Ministry of Education for providing psychological assistance to these students? Thank you.

Tian Xuejun:

You've raised a fairly important question. In terms of psychological counseling, the Ministry of Education has coordinated relevant resources from universities and colleges, making counseling services available to overseas students 24 hours a day. Education administrators in many places and Chinese embassies and consulates in many countries have also set up a helpline for overseas students, providing counseling services for them and their parents in a timely manner. As you may notice, many Chines ambassadors and consul generals have issued open letters to overseas Chinese citizens, and they are also communicating with overseas Chinese students via video chats, building confidence among them amid the pandemic.

We hope that overseas students can set up the concept of preventing the pandemic in a scientific manner, put this concept into practice with the help of Chinese embassies, and build the confidence to overcome it. In accordance with suggestions from the WHO and epidemiologists, we hope overseas students will avoid traveling as much as possible so as to eliminate cross infection. We also hope that these students’ parents and family members who are in China can share with them messages of positive energy that will help them get rid of unnecessary panic and anxiety; meanwhile, they should also do their part in epidemic prevention and control in China. Thank you. 

Hu Kaihong:

Today's press conference is hereby concluded. Thank you all. 

Translated and edited by Lin Liyao, Zhang Junmian, Qin Qi, Zhou Jing, Yang Xi, Zhang Rui, Wang Yanfang, Zhang Liying, Li Huiru, Zhu Bochen, He Shan, Yan Xiaoqing, Wang Qian, Duan Yaying, Wang Wei, Cui Can, Wu Jin, Fan Junmei, Liu Sitong, Guo Xiaohong, Wang Yiming, Huang Shan, Jay Birbeck, Laura Zheng, David Ball, Scott Rainen. In case of any dispute over a discrepancy, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail

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