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Islamabad’s Chinese Citizens Living In Fear Due To Fake News About Coronavirus

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Proving a nightmare for Chinese around the world, the coronavirus has become a reason to agitate Chinese citizens living in Islamabad. Although there is still no approved evidence of reporting any coronavirus related case in Pakistan, the fake news spread over Pakistani social media about the presence of coronavirus has caused a situation of fear among Chinese citizens living in Pakistan.

Jane* lives in Sector F-7 Islamabad has told that she and other Chinese families living with her are now confined to their homes. She says that it has been more than two weeks since they have seen the world outside their homes. The housekeeping staff, the cleaners, babysitters and home tutors have been sent on a leave.

Children are not going to schools, and they have been barred from interacting with other children around them. It’s just men who, wearing a mask, go to their offices and shop for groceries and other essential supplies. After entering the house, they take a bath before mingling with family members.

According to Jane, “All these precautions are utterly necessary to take; we found it the only way to keep our families safe. Previously, all the employees and their families preferred to eat the company’s cafeteria, but now we eat at our home. This is the only way we can prevent this virus as neither Pakistani hospitals have any updated laboratories to accurately diagnose the virus, nor any cure.”

Lee*, residing in sector I-10, has an import-export business. He is from Wuhan — the center of the epidemic coronavirus. Lee says that his wife and his two kids went to China for the Chinese New Year celebrations. Due to coronavirus, the authorities locked down the whole Wuhan city and his family is stuck there. Lee is living in a state of fear for his family. And Lee’s family is also worried for him. To avoid coronavirus, Lee is trying to take all the necessary steps to keep himself safe. He often stays at home, trying to avoid contact with any other human being around him.

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Rarely coming out of home, Lee wears a mask and keeps medical sanitizers with him. He says that this isolation is not good for his business which has already suffered a loss, but he has to do it. This is the only way he can ensure his safety.

Zhong* is an employee at a private Chinese company working on the search for oil and other minerals. Zhong told that the company headquarters in China has issued special instructions for all the employees living in Pakistan, which includes restriction of unnecessary movement and interaction with people around us. He said that he is glad to be in Pakistan and still protected from the pandemic, but the fake news of coronavirus cases being diagnosed in different parts of Pakistan has set a wave of anxiety among all the Chinese residents.

According to the diplomatic sources, there are more than 10,000 Chinese citizens residing in Islamabad and some 35,000 in the whole of Pakistan. However unconfirmed figures show a number of more than 60,000 Chinese citizens in Pakistan (2018 statistics).

Most of the Chinese citizens have come to Pakistan under various CPEC projects and companies working to explore oil, gas and other minerals. The current statistics revealed by the Chinese government, to date (February 10, 2020), the total number of fatal coronavirus reported cases is around 50,000 of which more than 40,000 are confirmed cases and the death toll has reached 908. These figures are increasing with each passing hour.

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