CHINA Interview: Lebanese student publishes book to document Wuhan's epic fight against COVID-19

CHINA

Interview: Lebanese student publishes book to document Wuhan's epic fight against COVID-19

Xinhua

21:25, December 16, 2020

File photo: Xinhua

WUHAN, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Adham Sayed, a Lebanese student studying in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has published a book that documents the city's epic fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

The book, "Confidence comes from effectiveness: A foreigner's Wuhan Diary," was first published in Arabic in July and quickly sold out. This month, the Chinese and English versions of the book were published.

"It is epic that all people in Wuhan played their roles in the war against the virus. And I want to document what really happened here from my perspective," said the 32-year-old Lebanese in an interview with Xinhua.

"Many readers told me that they finished the book in one night and just couldn't stop reading," said Sayed, adding that many found the book has shed a light on how China had managed to control the spread of the epidemic and how people could protect themselves from getting infected.

Five years ago, Sayed left his hometown Barja, Lebanon to pursue higher education in Wuhan. Now, he is a Ph.D. student in Quantitative Economics at Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

In January, Sayed rented an apartment with his friends for two days to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year as he had done for years in Wuhan. Out of nowhere, a sudden lockdown of the city confined him in the temporary residence for over two months.

"The first night was perhaps the longest night of my life," said Sayed, who was overwhelmed by the unprecedented situation. However nervous as he was, the Lebanese did not think of leaving the city.

"People here had helped me a lot when I was in need, so I wanted to give back and stand with Wuhan during its tough time," Sayed said.

Though staying in an unfamiliar apartment, Sayed did not see any difference in how community workers treated him from other residents. "Volunteers called to ask about me and provided me with food and necessities that were mostly free," he added.

On the fifth day of Wuhan's lockdown, Sayed wrote his first article about life in quarantine. "I told myself that it's a war for all people, and my role was to convey to the world what really happened here," he said.

Apart from keeping a diary, Sayed livestreamed his life and updated Wuhan's epidemic data, including death tolls and the number of confirmed and cured cases, on Facebook.

"By live-streaming, I can't make any changes to my videos. I showed that the streets were empty and many shops were closed, but I also showed that people were not falling down or dying in the streets as rumors went," he said.

During quarantine, Sayed spent over 10 hours a day updating Wuhan's situation, responding to netizens' questions and sharing his experience with media worldwide.

"I will never forget March 30 when I finally stepped out of the community. I could not help smiling and clapping my hands, and I felt that I was not walking but flying," said Sayed, who also livestreamed the unforgettable moment on social media.

"The spring has arrived in Wuhan, with the government putting people first and all walks of life tightly united to fight the virus," Sayed said. "And I hope the day will come soon when all nations defeat the pandemic."

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