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Holed up in Wuhan, foreign students look to escape virus-hit city

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After a week under quarantine in Wuhan, where China’s new coronavirus emerged late last year, some of the city’s thousands of international students are feeling isolated and anxious, with some hoping they can be evacuated.

Four of an estimated 500 Pakistani students in the city have already been confirmed to have the virus, Pakistan’s State Minister of Health Zafar Mirza said on Wednesday. Others, holed up in their dormitories, worry they too will contract the disease; their fears fuelled by misinformation.

“You can understand people are kind of paranoid,” said Mohammad Samiul Ahsan, a student from Bangladesh, who is vice president of the Wuhan University International Students’ Union.

Ahsan has been working to calm their fears, dispel rumours and keep them informed.

He said most students were staying inside their dormitories.

“We try to tell them, the situation you are in, we are in also.”

Wuhan is an education hub with more than 30 colleges and universities welcoming students from around the world. In total, there are 492,185 foreigners studying in China.

Advice from university administrators, which was shared with Al Jazeera by students who have now left China, warned them against eating from shared dishes and gave instructions on how to keep living spaces properly cleaned and well-ventilated.

Ahsan said he has been on-call nearly 24 hours a day since the quarantine started, coordinating with college officials since Monday to deliver meals three times a day to those in the dorms.

Ahsan said 500 international students are on the campus.

Source: Al Jazeera

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