Staff members check the information of passengers entering China at the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, east China, March 18. (Photo: Xinhua)
Chinese students studying in the US expressed mixed feelings to the Chinese embassy's advice on whether to stay in the US or return to China.
The Embassy of China in the US issued a notice on its website on Friday suggesting students thoroughly evaluate before deciding to go back to China. So far, the Chinese students studying abroad accounted for 32 percent of the total imported coronavirus cases in China, which means the risk of infection during travel is not low, said the advisory.
More than 90 percent of over 400,000 Chinese students studying in the US have chosen to stay and continue their studies in the US, according to the embassy.
Students should not be overly anxious as the infection rate is still low and all the Chinese students studying there have medical insurance, which can cover medical fees to varying degree. Also, the embassy will support all the students and offer help to them at the earliest.
This opinion was echoed by a Chinese doctoral student surnamed Li at the University of Missouri. Li told the Global Times on Friday that he didn't plan to fly back to China as he was worried Chinese nationals rushing back could cause cross infections.
"Since I live in the countryside which is sparsely populated, I feel safe," Li said, noting that he has stocked enough facial masks and protective gloves mailed by his local Chinese friends.
"Also, another reason why I decided not to go back is I don't want the journey to interrupt my research and experimental work," Li noted.
However, the US has reported more than 243,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 5,900 deaths, which still raises concerns to Chinese parents and students.
"I booked a total of seven airline tickets successively for my son, as I'm anxious that the flights might be canceled due to uncertainties," the mother of a student who lives in Shanghai and prefers to stay anonymous, told the Global Times on Friday.
She had made the decision at the earliest to let her son, a freshman studying at a university in California, return to Shanghai as she believes that the domestic prevention measures are much more effective than in the US.
Her feelings were echoed by a Chinese student surnamed Tang at the University of Florida. Tang said he plans to return as he feels increasingly insecure in the US with the number of infections surging every day there and local people are still reluctant to wear masks.
However, he had tried to book a flight to China, but many of the flights were cancelled, he said.
As summer vacation approaches, a rising number of students will choose to go back to China. The Embassy of China in the US said it is aware of the air ticket shortage due to the reduction in the number of flights.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China said that for cities with a huge demand, which is also capable of pandemic prevention, major air transportation guarantee mechanisms will be activated to provide temporary chartered flights and bring the students back home, depending on the situation, according to the notice.