Journal : Global Times (Chinese) Date : Author : Li Sikun, Yang Shasha and Liu Caiyu Special correspondent in India Zhang Qi Liu Page No. : NA
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(This article was also carried first in the English language Global Times under the title “Chinese in India rely on self-help as country endures darkest epidemic moment”. The English version is reproduced below, pending translation of the Chinese one.) 

Chinese in India have been on edge as the country endures its darkest chapter of the COVID-19 epidemic, where death toll from the coronavirus surged past 200,000 on Wednesday.

“In-patient wards are packed. Whether you are rich or poor, you cannot access to hospital,” Nico Yang, a Delhi-based Chinese COVID-19 patient who self-recovered told the Global Times on Wednesday.

India has been experiencing a spike in recent weeks where hospitals have been completely swamped and many people are turned away. Lifesaving oxygen is running out.

The climbing death toll is collapsing India’s funeral industry, where many said Indians have to set up temporary incineration sites in parks and other places to treat the remains of patients who died of coronavirus.

Compared with many Indian people who may have to wait and suffer, Yang was lucky.

“My colleagues deliver food every day to me and most importantly I deeply believe I could get over the virus if I follow the advice of Zhang Wenhong.” Zhang is China’s leading infectious disease expert who frequently shows up on media and was once invited by the Chinese Embassy in India online to give advice on COVID-19, Yang said.

“I had a fever for 10 days since April 7. Since then, I have been taking paracetamol and antibiotics to treat myself at home. Following Zhang’s advice, I drank milk and even did scraping therapy.” Eventually, Yang recovered but she will continue to stay home to prevent herself from getting re-infected.

“We are facing a shutdown anytime… Some Indian colleagues were infected, but the government has not provided any help, not even a notice for them to observe quarantine,” said Yan Xiaoxiao, who is the head of a company in India.

In this desperate moment all we could do is unite with Chinese enterprises in India to save ourselves, Yan told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The exact number of Chinese nationals in India is unknown, but the Global Times learned from sources that batches of Chinese chose to get out of India last year by taking charted flights.

Chinese companies have been squeezed by the Indian government in the past two years, and a large number of companies have shut down, local Chinese in India said. “My revenue saw a peak in 2019 but now profits have been cut in half.” But Yan said he would not leave India as long as Chinese communication giants like OPPO and Vivo stay.

Others are desperate to find a way out.

“I returned to China prior to the Spring Festival,” said a Chinese national, surnamed Niu, who had been working in Vadodara at a Chinese chemical plant. “This wave of epidemic is forcing Chinese nationals not to step out. My colleagues have moved to an alternative plant located in a depopulated zone 5 kilometers away from villages. It is probably safer,” Niu said.

In March, India abandoned social distancing and other preventive control measures and held various traditional festivals and political rallies. India may face a larger coronavirus outbreak in the coming days if the government does not take decisive measures, Chinese experts warned.

Chinese Foreign Ministry has expressed several times in recent days willingness to provide assistance to India in the fight against the virus surge.

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