Duong Rach Sanh, a Vietnamese student at the Guangxi University in southern China, has just spent the May Day holiday -- his first vacation in China -- in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
"During the holiday, I spent a lot of time reading, surfing the Internet and chatting with my classmates. Life goes on as usual except that we have to take our temperature and herbal medicine daily in a bid to prevent SARS," he said in Chinese yesterday.
Duong is from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's economic hub, and works as a reporter for a local Chinese newspaper. Three months ago, he came to study journalism at the university.
"The only difference was that I and several of my class-mates, also from Vietnam, gathered on April 30 to celebrate our national holiday, the anniversary of our country's reunification," he said.
The 25-year-old was among nearly 800 foreign students and teachers, mainly from Southeast Asian nations, like Vietnam and Thailand, who stayed in Guangxi during the special holiday.
The region has adopted a number of measures to prevent and control the transmission of the flu-like virus to foreigners since the first SARS case was reported.
Every foreign student has been provided with free herbal medicine, a thermo-meter and a gauze mask and the campuses have been thoroughly disinfected, including student dormitories, while medical instructions and consultation on SARS prevention, both in Chinese and English, are available for them.
According to officials with the autonomous region's health bureau, none of the foreign students and teachers have been found to be infected with SARS, though to date, 20 cases have been detected in Guangxi.
"So long as we take appropriate measures, SARS is not to be feared," said Duong.
Like Duong, Millan Rai from Nepal, one of the 160-plus foreign students at the Guangxi Medical Sciences University, enjoyed his holiday by participating in various kinds of entertainment activities and sports games organized by the university. "I tell my relatives and friends that we have enough prevention against SARS," said the 20-year-old.
(Xinhua News Agency May 6, 2003)