Feature: Shanghai expats, locals concertedly combat COVID-19

Source: Xinhua| 2020-07-14 17:45:52|Editor: huaxia

SHANGHAI, July 14 (Xinhua) -- When it comes to fighting COVID-19 in China, what Ashish Maskay is proud of is his participation in voluntary blood donation for his "second hometown" Shanghai.

Maskay, a Nepalese orthopedic surgeon at a foreign-funded hospital in Shanghai, founded a foreigners' group called "Bloodline" three years ago. They have organized 14 blood donation activities, including two during the anti-virus fight.

"There was a greater demand for blood during the epidemic," Maskay said. "We consider Shanghai our second home, and we're honored to give back to the city."

La Thor, 22, a Lao national studying in the Shanghai Institute of Technology, has gone through a unique semester together with his 13 Lao schoolmates. They are the first batch of Lao students studying abroad under the education cooperation of the China-Laos railway project.

In the first half of this year, although the epidemic affected offline classes and hindered their face-to-face communication with the teachers, Thor found online learning a brand-new experience.

The care given by the locals moved him. "Our parents felt relieved when they learned that local residents in Shanghai provided us medical supplies such as masks. Shanghai has done a great job in epidemic control, and we are all very safe here."

In addition, Shanghai People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, one of the project partners, recently organized two sightseeing activities for the Lao students to alleviate their homesickness.

To express their gratitude, Thor and his Lao peers recorded a video in early February, cheering for China, and the cities of Wuhan and Shanghai in fighting COVID-19.

"This is all we could do now, but in the future, we will take part in the China-Laos railway operation and contribute to the Belt and Road Initiative," he said.

Harmen Dubbelaar, president and general manager of Okura Garden Hotel Shanghai, said that his company was hit hard by the epidemic; however, he still chose to stay in China, where he has been living for 20 years.

"When it comes to Shanghai, health and safety are the top priorities," Dubbelaar said. During the epidemic, he was impressed by the quick and decisive epidemic control measures adopted by the local government. "I appreciate it and the measures really made me feel safe."

He was also much impressed by the Chinese people's self-discipline, as they have strictly followed the epidemic prevention instructions. During the epidemic, his employees showed great resilience in adapting to different working conditions.

Dubbelaar's experience boosted his confidence in forging his future career plans. He believes China's economy will continue to flourish despite the impact of the epidemic.

"One bad year can't cast a dark shadow on the entire positive development. It's just a small, short-term hiccup in the economic growth of China," Dubbelaar said.

Sha Hailin, chairman of the Shanghai People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said that the mutual assistance between expats and Shanghai residents during the critical period is a vivid illustration of a community with a shared future for humanity. Enditem