A man wearing protective mask uses his phone as he walks on a pedestrian bridge, following the outbreak of the new coronavirus in China, in Jakarta
Durban - An English teacher who is working in Chengdu, China, yearns to return home to South Africa.  

“I want to come back. I feel all alone here but I know if I travel, I stand a greater chance of being infected,” said the 24-year-old of Chatsworth, Durban.

The woman, who has declined to be named, has been in China for three months.

“Initially it was pretty exciting to embark on a new adventure, but now with the outbreak my feelings have changed. I’m scared to be here, especially being alone. Your mind tends to wander. You become paranoid and think the worst.”

She said she had the flu last month and feared the symptoms associated with the virus. These include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

“I became paranoid . . . more so because I interacted with the kids and staff at the school where I am based and I did not know who they were in contact with. Thankfully, I stayed at home and recovered.”

She said everyone in Chengdu, which is the capital of south-western China’s Sichuan province, had to remain indoors.

This after the government placed them under house arrest until further notice.

The only time she left her home was when she needed to go to the supermarket to stock up on food.

“When I look through my window, there’s hardly anyone on the streets. It has become a ghost town.”

The people that she comes across wear masks and plastic gloves as a measure of protection.

She advised South Africans not to travel to China or any other affected countries until the situation was contained.

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