Covid-19: PNG student considers China return

9:58 am on 23 March 2020

A Papua New Guinean student evacuated from China by the PNG government will soon have to decide if he will return to his university in Shanghai.

Ben Mendel at Shanghai airport.

Ben Mendel at Shanghai airport. Photo: Ben Mendel

Ben Mendel was able to board a charter flight out of Hong Kong last month to escape the coronavirus but has been told his classes will shortly resume.

Mr Mendel, who is staying with family in Port Moresby, said the thought of going back to China scared him.

"I don't feel safe because it is a global epidemic and it's kind of scary. I don't want to die. I will get advice from my family. If they advise me to go back then I will go."

After self isolating for two weeks, Mr Mendel said he was now free to more around PNG.

"They asked us to go to our households, be honest and quarantine yourselves. We reported back to the health department that we are now free to move around."

Meanwhile, Mr Mendel's dean and lecturers from his university had been in touch.

"They told me that things are getting better and better now so they will recommence the classes. They said 'standby for the announcement of when the classes will resume'."

Mr Mendel said he was "very fortunate" to be given a scholarship to study at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law "but this coronavirus is very scary and I don't know what I will do".

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