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Chinese community helps UK in fight against COVID-19

(People's Daily Online)    15:56, May 09, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to rage in the United Kingdom, the British Chinese community has united to contribute to the country’s fight against the virus.

Liu Peng, a researcher with the Barts Cancer Institute under Queen Mary University of London, is one of them. While some British Chinese and Chinese students made the journey back to China after COVID-19 broke out in the country, Liu, who is also the head of the Association of Self-Financed Outstanding Scholarship Awardees in the UK (ASOSA-UK), decided to stay and do something to help contain the outbreak.

With his medical and vaccine research background, he contacted friends in the field of medicine and formed an anti-virus team, together with the Chinese Students and Scholars Association in the UK (CSSA-UK), the largest community for Chinese students and scholars in the country. Liu led volunteers from ASOSA-UK and CSSA-UK in providing medical supplies, online medical consultations, and psychological counseling for Chinese students still in the country.

“I want to help people with my expertise, even if I don’t know their names,” Liu said, adding that “I didn’t return to China because I want to do more to help people here.”

According to Liu, the team set up two chat groups for Chinese students in the UK to answer their questions about the pandemic, tell them how to avoid contracting the virus and offer them online medical consultation, in order to reassure them during the outbreak.

In general, he gets two or three phone calls a day from Chinese students who suspect that they may have been infected with the coronavirus. In fact, most of them were just suffering from influenza or pharyngitis, Liu noted, adding that the team mainly puts their minds at ease through some mitigation measures.

He recalled that a 24-year-old student had once consulted him, and was crying as all her roommates had returned home and she had a bad sore throat. Liu told her that the chances of her being infected were low as she had been at home for three weeks, and the sore throat was just caused by pharyngitis, while advising her on which medicines were safe to take. Three days later, the girl called Liu again, telling him that she had recovered.

Liu has also been working with CSSA-UK to provide personal protective equipment such as gowns and goggles to Chinese students who plan to return to China. “We are also working with an online medical institution in the UK to arrange tests with CT scans for students with acute illnesses,” he noted.

Liu has also persuaded his British neighbor to take the coronavirus threat seriously and shared some anti-virus measures with him. For example, Liu has provided him with some masks and asked him to wear one whenever he goes out. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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