Canadian teacher publishes diary of Chinese life amid epidemic

File photo: Agencies

CHONGQING, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- A Canadian teacher has published a book chronicling his life in China when the whole country was making an all-out effort to battle COVID-19 in early 2020.

"Kai's Diary," written by Jorah Kai Wood, records his life in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality from Jan. 20 to March 18, a time when the coronavirus was ravaging across the country. The book is now available in both English and Chinese in China.

At a meeting with readers in late December, Wood shared why he wrote the book and his feelings about the epidemic control and prevention measures China has taken.

Having settled down in Chongqing since 2014, Kai is a teacher at Chongqing Foreign Language School and an editor for iChongqing, a Chongqing-based English website.

Wood's first diary entry was posted on Jan. 20, 2020, when Zhong Nanshan, a renowned Chinese respiratory expert and head of a high-level expert team of China's National Health Commission, confirmed human-to-human transmission of the new virus for the first time. His remarks immediately sounded the alarm as the traditional Spring Festival was less than a week away and hundreds of millions of Chinese were expected to embark on home-bound trips.

China has henceforth taken swift and strict measures to control the spread of the virus, including putting Wuhan, a megacity hit hard by COVID-19 at that time, in a months-long lockdown, and placing restrictions on movement during the holiday nationwide.

By recording how Chinese people did their shopping, how community staff persuaded people to stay at home, and how they delivered daily commodities for the elderly under such difficult situations through a foreigner's perspective, Wood revealed how Chinese people fought against the deadly virus under the guidance of the local and central government.

He also wrote how local residents' attitudes evolved from initially downplaying the severity of the virus, panicking, to cooperating with the community in an orderly manner and finally seeing life return to normal.

He simultaneously posted his diaries on Facebook and in no time was inundated with a flood of messages. CTV News in Canada had been displaying his diaries on its website from late January to early March.

In the meeting with his readers, Wood used three words to describe China's epidemic fight -- careful, responsible and vigilant.

"In the very beginning, China made swift decisions to close highways, lock the city... Then it kept contact tracing, found the exposed and did numerous testing. Although now the country is entering into the post-pandemic period, China still remains vigilant for any emergency," he said.

"Many people around the globe think combating COVID-19 is their right. They can choose to wear a mask or not, to stay at home or not. But I think it's more about an obligation," said Wood. "People should be more responsible for their family, friends as well as the whole world."