AS the coronavirus pandemic gets a hold in Spain Chinese citizens in the country are considering going back to China to escape the problem.
According to Global Times many of that country’s nationals have been left deeply unimpressed by the Spanish reaction to the crisis.
For them, their chances of escaping the outbreak seem better in their home country, despite it being the seat of the pandemic.
Spanish authorities have increased prevention controls including closing down schools and universities in Madrid and imposing restrictions on public and sporting events but cases have shot up more than 10-fold to 3,000 in just a week.
But Chinese citizens in Spain spoken to by Global times have considered that the response has been lax and worry it may be too little too late.
And the criticism is not solely aimed at the government and health authorities. Zhao Xiaoyu, a Chinese who currently works in Barcelona, told Global Times: “Despite the government starting to make efforts to contain the virus, people in Spain are complacent; they still wander around without masks on, continue hugging and kissing like nothing has happened.”
She added that she knew ‘many’ of her fellow citizens who have now returned to China.
Students spoken to by the Global Times revealed that they were discussing on a daily basis whether to stay or head back home until the situation gets better, feeling that the Chinese government is doing a better job at preventing and controlling the epidemic.
This is not news the Chinese government necessarily wants to hear. Five new cases have been reported of people travelling from Spain to China carrying the disease, including two from Valencia.
The danger of students returning home and possibly spreading the virus is one recognised by the Spanish authorities.
They asked university students in Madrid to stay in the capital when classes were suspended, but many have ignored the advice and returned to their family homes in other regions.
The unintended consequence of trying to control the outbreak in Madrid could well be that carriers transport the virus all across Spain.