NEWS

Coronavirus: Two Fijians Evacuated From Wuhan Impressed With New Zealand Government’s Help

2 Fijian students are in isolation at Whangaparaoa Military Training Facility in Auckland, New Zealand. Joe Racaca, Sylvia Nandani are pleased to be out of coronavirus epicentre – Wuhan City, China. They are impressed with the way the NZ government has so far looked after them
07 Feb 2020 09:37
Coronavirus: Two Fijians Evacuated From Wuhan Impressed With New Zealand Government’s Help
Flying from Wuhan... Sylvia Nandani and Joe Racaca onboard the Air New Zealand flight assisted evacuation.

The two Fijian students who arrived in New Zealand from Wuhan City, China – the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak – are glad they are no longer on ground zero.

Now in isolation at the Whangaparaoa Military Training Facility in Auckland for 14 days, they are impressed with the way the New Zealand government has so far looked after them.

The two Fijian students are Joe Racaca and Sylvia Nandani.

Mr Racaca is from Nanukuloa in Ra and worked at the Ministry of Lands as a Geospatial Officer before taking up the China-PIFS Regional Scholarship award. He is studying for a Masters degree in Cartography and Geographic Information Engineering at the China University of Geoscience in Wuhan City. He is a third-year student.

Ms Nandani is studying for a Masters degree in Food Science at the Oil Crops Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, also based in Wuhan City. She arrived in Beijing, China, last September before she was moved to Wuhan on January 14. A week later, the city was on lockdown as a result of the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.

Mr Racaca said out of the 11 Fijians living in Wuhan, they lived the closest to the origin of the coronavirus outbreak.

“For seven days straight since the lockdown, I stayed in my apartment,” Mr Racaca said.

“I only stepped outside for supplies, then stayed indoors again for another seven days before leaving my apartment for the airport to board the Air Zealand flight.

“Because we were so close to where it all began, the fear of going outside and the chance of getting infected was high.”

Mr Racaca said the psychological impact of the outbreak was stressful.

“The thing that got me the most was staring at the four walls and ceiling,” he said.

“We are so used to going outside and then suddenly it all stops. It was like a prison, but it was different because you could go outside, but fear kept you indoors.”

The mobile caravans used to accommodate evacuees from Wuhan City at the Whagaparaoa Military Training Facility in Auckland, New Zealand.

The mobile caravans used to accommodate evacuees from Wuhan City at the Whagaparaoa Military
Training Facility in Auckland, New Zealand.

At the Whangaparaoa Military Training Facility, the plan for evacuees is to maintain a normal a life as possible. Yesterday they held an orientation session.

Evacuees receive daily medical checks after breakfast. At the moment, only temperature and heart rates are being monitored, Mr Racaca said.

“Since we arrived at the isolation facility, we have been very well looked after. They even assign an officer to us if we have a special request. It’s like staying in a hotel,” he said.

The evacuees are being accommodated in recreational vehicles within the Whangaparaoa facility.

“Some families stay together in one van, some prefer to stay on their own – it’s really up to the individual,” he said.

Mr Racaca chose to share his accommodation with Papua New Guinea friend, Solomon David.

Even with the possibility of remaining in isolation for more than 14 days, Mr Racaca said this was not a problem.

“At least we are well cared for. We have three meals a day and we don’t have the fear of stepping outside. The weather is warm and we are far away from ground zero,” he said.

Yesterday afternoon, Red Cross had brought in items like bottles of water, flip flops, cup noodles, chocolates, toys, books and clothing for the evacuees.

Wifi is available, allowing evacuees to work remotely and education needs for children will be provided.

The Whangaparaoa training camp was chosen because of its size, location and medical facilities, according to Radio New Zealand.

Whangaparaoa Military Training Facility lies on Defence Force land at the end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. The facility hosts about 16 buildings, isolated at the end of the peninsula, and separated from the Army Bay community near Shakespear Regional Park.

It is estimated that the mess could hold about 200 people.

Accommodation at the facility numbers about 150 beds, not including staff accommodation, New Zealand media reported.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

Fijisun E-edition
Total Excellium
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper