Home> Latest

City praised for welcoming its returnees

By CANG WEI in Nanjing| China Daily| Updated: January 27, 2022 L M S


Passengers arrive at Beijing Railway Station on Jan 17. [Photo by Zhu Xingxin/chinadaily.com.cn]

Netizens laud Jiaxing's human touch ahead of Lunar New Year reunions

While many Chinese cities are encouraging people to stay put for Spring Festival, the city of Jiaxing in Zhejiang province has been applauded by netizens for its welcoming attitude toward people wanting to return to their hometown for family reunions.

A woman surnamed Wang called the COVID-19 prevention and control office in Jiaxing on Jan 20, asking if she could return from Beijing, where dozens of COVID-19 cases have been reported.

She received warm greetings from 31-year-old Jiang Ying, an office staff member, and then posted details of her experience on the internet, touching many who read the post.

In the phone call, Jiang explained patiently to Wang that she could return without being quarantined in her hometown and asked her how long it had been since she had been back. She also asked if Wang missed home and said she could return if she wanted to.

Though she decided at the last minute not to return to avoid causing problems for others, Wang said on social media that she was "totally touched" and "you can always have faith in Zhejiang".

The human touch in Jiang's answer impressed netizens, and she was overwhelmed by their praise.

"It was nothing but a normal conversation," she said. "As workers with the COVID-19 prevention and control office, we treat each call with patience and a gentle voice."

She added that she sometimes had to suggest to some people that they not return home from other cities, in accordance with pandemic prevention regulations.

"All of them showed understanding," she said. "We work many hours in our shifts at the office, and we thank them for cooperating with our work."

However, not all returnees and COVID-19 control workers have been so understanding. Tian Jiao, a college student studying in Hangzhou, Zhejiang's provincial capital, complained that she was placed in quarantine and given multiple nucleic acid tests when she returned to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province.

"I have a green health code on my cellphone screen that indicates I'm not infected," Tian said. "I wondered if the quarantine back in my hometown was necessary. I'm afraid of taking samples from nostrils for nucleic acid testing. It makes me feel that the swab is nearing my brain."

Many Chinese cities have announced that returnees from low-risk areas cannot be prohibited from going home. All 13 cities in Jiangsu province only require returnees from other provinces to present a negative nucleic acid test result taken in the past 48 hours.

Mi Feng, a spokesman for the National Health Commission, told a news conference on Saturday that local authorities should not impose excessive restrictions to prevent returnees from going home, nor should they apply a one-size-fits-all policy to contain COVID-19.

Guo Wei, a professor with Nanjing University's School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, said that many aspects of people's lives have been affected by COVID-19 in the past two years, causing some public anxiety.

"Family is highly valued in Chinese culture," he said. "A large number of returnees certainly will put pressure on the country's pandemic prevention efforts, but family reunions and communication between family members will more or less ease people's anxiety."

Guo said that people's desire to reunite with family should be satisfied, while the country can use big data, health codes and nucleic acid testing to guarantee pandemic control.

This year's Spring Festival travel rush began on Jan 17 and will continue until Feb 25, with the number of passenger trips expected to reach 1.18 billion, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Guo Jun contributed to this story.