Volunteers share epidemic information with Chinese abroad
Xing Ruinan

The COVID-19 situation in China might be improving as containment measures yield positive results, but overseas Chinese are still facing great risks as the pandemic continues to grip the world.

A number of organizations are working to provide accurate and timely information on the pandemic for Chinese people abroad.

One such group is A2N, which stands for Anti 2019-nCov. The group helps Chinese people living and studying abroad stay informed with updated news on the constantly changing pandemic situation.

Shi San, one of the founders of the platform, introduced that they provide insight into three different aspects of the coronavirus outbreak.

"To begin with, we provide information on coronavirus outbreaks in different countries. For this part, we focus on the spread of the epidemic and containment measures, as well as local medical information and daily supplies. Then, there's a section for those who want to go back to China, with the latest policies regarding transfers, entry, and quarantines. We also have a segment for those who decide to stay abroad, and we share with them constructive preventive measures to combat the coronavirus."

False and malicious information about coronavirus has been proliferating on social media, causing some to panic. Fact-checkers in the group of volunteers have been debunking online conspiracy theories to alleviate fears and concerns.

People who benefited from the services have themselves turned into volunteers, helping the platform reach a larger audience.

"I've sent messages in my WeChat moments, and my classmates commented that they found A2N information particularly useful. I have been helped by A2N, and I have become a volunteer to help other people. I think this is meaningful," said Li Yunyang, who is currently studying in the UK.

Volunteers based in different countries have first-hand knowledge of the local situation. Kay from Germany joined the group in January, when it was first established. As the pandemic landscape changes, the group's target audience shifted from those in China to Chinese descendants and students abroad.

Although they're not paid and have a lot on their plate, the volunteers willingly put in time and effort. They go through an immense flow of information on a daily basis, gathering authoritative reports and monitoring official announcements. They even listen to press conferences for hours, just to gather accurate information from reliable sources.

While the volunteers devote themselves to providing help for overseas Chinese, they've also been at pains to reassure their own families.

"My family and some of my friends' families really worry about us and they always call us. They ask us if we're going back to China. Whenever I call back home, they would say 'Don't worry, we can take care of ourselves,'" said Pepper, in Overland Park, Kansas.

The contribution by volunteers from all corners of the world, such as the dedicated A2N group, gives important backing to the global fight against the coronavirus.