Pakistani volunteer joins anti-virus fight in China

In a mask and protective suit, Muhammad Mansoor Alam Khan began distributing masks and manuals on epidemic prevention

Xinhua February 18, 2020
PHOTO: Reuters

SHANGHAI: Amid the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, one Pakistani student has motivated locals to volunteer in controlling the epidemic.

Muhammad Mansoor Alam Khan always wows others with his fluent Mandarin. Now, people are more impressed at his choice to stay and become a volunteer in Shanghai during the coronavirus outbreak.

Putting on a mask, a pair of goggles and a protective suit, the 26-year-old began distributing masks and manuals on epidemic prevention to locals, before heading to a highway checkpoint to help inspect vehicles entering Shanghai. He took body temperatures of drivers and passengers and reminded them to scan a QR code to register their physical conditions.

"Few people can tell that I am a foreigner since I'm well-armed. They are astonished and often express their gratitude to me when they find out," Khan said.

Khan came to China in 2015 for a master's degree in electric engineering at Xi'an Jiaotong University. After graduation in 2018, he found a job as an engineer in Shanghai and stayed.

Nearly 20 foreigners live in the same community as Khan in Waigang Township of Jiading District. The young man has become a coordinator between the community workers and foreign residents.

"Some occasionally question me about taking their body temperatures, and I'll explain to them that early detection is the most effective method to prevent further transmission of the virus," Khan said.

His presence also motivated local volunteers. "Other volunteers are happy that I joined them. I think my presence makes them feel that they are not alone and that many are standing along with Chinese people to combat the epidemic," said Khan.

Data from local authorities showed over 58,000 people have joined volunteer organizations in Shanghai. They are an important force in China's community-based prevention and control, shouldering a range of important tasks.

Khan decided to stay in Shanghai after much consideration during the Spring Festival. "It's no big deal. China has given me a good education, job and cozy life. It is the least I can do to pay back," said Khan. "China is my second home and it now needs me."

His family also supports his decision. "Both my sisters are doctors, and they always stay in the hospital to take care of patients during festivals," said Khan. "My father always said helping others is the best path to happiness."

"I think the Chinese government is doing the best and providing the best solutions available at the moment," said Khan. "We foreign residents should support and stand together with China. Let's knock out this virus together."

Looking ahead, Khan said going out for hotpot would be on top of his agenda after the epidemic. "I believe I'll stay in China for the rest of my life."

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