International students trapped in Hubei province – from countries not evacuating their citizens – say they feel abandoned at the epicentre of the global coronavirus outbreak.
As the US, Japan, South Korea and UK have flown citizens out of Hubei, followed by commitments from Australia, NZ, France, Indonesia, India and Afghanistan to also repatriate their citizens, students from countries such as Pakistan – which is not repatriating its citizens – have begged for government intervention.
Husnain Chisti, a Pakistani student at the Hubei University of Science and Technology, said the university gates were locked and students were stranded on campus.
“The coronavirus is spreading rapidly… our city is totally locked down, all public transport, markets, the railway stations, in fact our university gates are locked. We can’t go outside.”
In a plea posted online, he said there were about 40 Pakistani students at his university, who were essentially confined to their rooms.
“Our classmates from Indonesia and India are getting evacuated from this city. The US and Japan have already evacuated their citizens, so I appeal to Pakistan government to please take… action and evacuate us from here by any means, because this virus is deadly and it is spreading day by day even [in a] city that is under lockdown.
“It is my humble request to Pakistan government to evacuate us by any means, thank you.”
Another Pakistani national, who did not give her name, is a third year medical student at Hubei Polytechnic University near Wuhan in Hubei.
She said students at the university were on lockdown and confined to the campus. They were sharing food and unsure for how long they would be locked down.
“We are suffering … we depend on each other for meals … when we need food, we ask our friends or colleagues who have enough to share with us.”