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Why this Cebuana chooses to stay in Xiamen City amid COVID-19 scare

By: Michelle Joy Padayhag - CDN Digital | February 20,2020 - 10:59 AM

Jeralyn Fajardo, a 28-year-old Cebuana in Xiamen City in China. | contributed photo

Cebu City, Philippines—One of her favorite things to do during break time or rest days in Xiamen City, China is to visit food shops.

Jeralyn Fajardo, a 28-year-old Cebuana, loves to eat gongxi (rice cake) and dumplings.

A piece of gongxi is sold at 7 Chinese Yuan (around P50) while six pieces of dumplings cost 16 Chinese Yuan (around P115).

But this favorite routine had to stop for a while after several food shops in the city were temporarily closed due to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) scare. 

Xiamen City is in the southeast part of the Fujian province in China.

As of 12 noon of February 19, 2020, there are 72,528 confirmed COVID-19 cases in China, according to the tracker of John Hopkins University.

Of the total figures in China, 292 cases are from Fujian province. 

Fujian is 900 kilometers away from Hubei province where Wuhan City is. Wuhan is where the COVID-19 started. 

“Xiamen City is really clean even before the outbreak (COVID-2019),” she told CDN Digital through a Facebook message. 

But safety measures are still implemented in the city to protect the public from the COVID-19.

Thermometer guns are used to check their body temperature before they enter establishments, including rented apartments and condominiums. 

For public transportation like taxi units, a passenger is  advised not to sit at the front seat or near the driver. 

“Pero dili angay ikahadlok kay nag amping lang pud sila dinhi,” she added.

(But there’s no need to worry. They just want to make sure everyone is protected and safe from the virus.)

Fajardo said that in Xiamen City, they are allowed to travel outside the city but there are checkpoints in place in all train stations.

They also have to fill out forms to check if they have travel history in Wuhan City, the most affected area in China. 

Recently, Fajardo and her colleagues were in Guangzhou City, a city in Guangdong, southern China, for a week-long training. 

Not coming home

As China and the rest of the world continue to address this global health emergency, Fajardo said she has no reason to go back to Cebu now.

She prefers to work in Xiamen City because it is a clean and organized city. 

Traffic is also not a problem since it has a good transportation system with its bus rapid transit (BRT) and metro trains. 

Fajardo is also satisfied with Xiamen City’s sanitation. For example, there are available rolls of tissue paper inside the elevators while public comfort rooms are all clean. 

This is her second time working in China after Zhengzhou, Henan from 2015 to 2016.  She came back to the Philippines from 2017 to 2019 due to health reasons. 

On December 18, 2019, Fajardo went back to being an overseas Filipino worker (OFW)  in Xiamen City. 

A native of Alegria town, southwestern Cebu, Fajardo works as an English teacher for preschool and grade school children in a learning center. 

Because of the outbreak, classes are temporarily done through online platforms from 4 PM to 9 PM and 9 AM to 7 PM every weekdays and weekends, respectively. 

Fajardo accommodates five students in one online class. 

“I am comfortable with online classes but my concern is my students. There are methods that cannot be taught online. There are activities that need to be done inside the classroom,” she said. 

Fajardo refused to give details on the teaching method for confidentiality purposes. 

As of this writing, the Cebuana teacher did not receive any advisory from the school’s management on when to resume regular classes at school. 

Since she has to stay at their rented apartment for the online classes, Fajardo only goes out every five days to buy her needs and one-week supplies. 

During a Facebook chat with CDN Digital, Fajardo sent a 13-second video clip when she bought food at the supermarket.

Based on the video, it shows the bread chips and chocolate sections of the establishment.

Customers are holding their own grocery carts. Some are wearing masks while others are not.

“I hope everything goes back to normal soon,” she said. /bmjo

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