Guangzhou held a meeting with representatives from foreign consulates in Guangzhou on April 28th, during which the Guangzhou government addressed the most frequently-asked questions from expats regarding epidemic control measures.
[Photo\Guangzhou Foreign Affairs Office official wechat account]
Wen Guohui, Mayor of Guangzhou, Alima Danfakha Gakou, Consul-General of Mali in Guangzhou and officers from 60 other consulates in Guangzhou attended the meeting.
During the meeting, the officers put forward frequently-asked questions from their communities. Related departments of the Guangzhou government then answered all of these questions which included expats’ access to nucleic acid testing, public places and COVID-19 treatment.
What should I be aware of when taking the bus or metro?
According to the Guangzhou Municipal Transportation Bureau, Guangzhou provides transport services to Chinese and foreign nationals equally. All people must undergo temperature checks when they take the bus, metro and taxi, and wear a mask during the whole journey.
Guangzhou Metro encourages the use of the Suikang and Yuekang Codes which allows people to prove their health status in a more convenient way consequentially enter the station much faster. These health codes will be used on buses as well in the future.
An Officer of the Department said the health code is not a compulsory act knowing that some foreign nationals might encounter technical issues when applying for the code at present. “They can enter the station through showing the staff their passport and related health certificates, or explaining their situation, but temperature checks and masks are a must to protect everyone.”
The Guangzhou government added some public places are still closed out of concern for public health and they are closed to everyone. Different areas have different epidemic control requirements based on their own conditions, but each area applies the requirements irrespective of nationality.
What if my visa is expiring?
The National Immigration Administration have announced a policy allowing foreigners in China to extend their visa for 2 months automatically as the virus continues to spread at a global level.
If the situation has not improved following the 60 day extension, expats can make a reservation for a new extension through the official website of Guangzhou Public Security Bureau (http://crjyw.gzjd.gov.cn/ELSPafv/) with related documents such as valid passport and the registration form of temporary residence for visitors. For those who are staying in the city in the long term for family, work or study, can apply for the Temporary Residence Permit with required documents, according to the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau.
For more details: https://crjywzx.gzjd.gov.cn/crjzxwg/subnav.do?subFlag=wgr
Foreign nationals get virus care before bill?
Guangzhou has expanded the testing scope to minimize the risk of virus spread. Test requirements differ only on the condition of an individual, and not their nationality.
The city has different requirements for international arrivals, close contacts of confirmed patients and confirmed patients.
International arrivals will have two rounds of testing, one on the first day and one on the fourteenth day of their quarantine;
Close contacts of confirmed cases will have four rounds of tests during quarantine on the first day, fourth day, seventh day and fourteenth day respectively, and one final test after the quarantine has concluded;
Confirmed patients need to undergo 4 tests after being discharged from hospital.
Why repeatedly impose tests on an individual?
Guangzhou has increased the number of tests on close contacts of confirmed cases based on actual medical requirements. This measure applies to all people, aiming to protect people from infection.
The Guangzhou government added that the previous expansion of testing has proved effective as more infected patients have been discovered and quarantined for treatment at an earlier stage. On the other hand, the officer said most people still test negative for the virus.
Can foreign nationals get free treatment if infected ?
Foreign nationals who are confirmed or suspected of contracting the novel coronavirus on the Chinese mainland will be treated first before paying expenses out-of-pocket even if they are not enrolled in the country's basic health insurance, according to a notification released jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and the National Health Commission.
Foreign nationals will, however, need to cover the expenses incurred from medical observation at hospitals or during centralized quarantine. If they have national or commercial insurance, they will pay treatment fees based on their own insurance plans.
Translation services: 960169 hotline
Officers of the Guangzhou government said expats in Guangzhou can call the 12345 service hotline or the 960169 multilingual service hotline to report issues or problems related to COVID-19, or simply to ask for instructions or assistance. The 960169 hotline provides multilingual services in English, Japanese and Korean.
Alima Danfakha Gakou:
Acting Head of the delegation of foreign consulates in Guangzhou, Alima Danfakha Gakou said China is making an active contribution in fighting against the virus, and is sharing its experience with other countries to lend a helping hand.
She thanked Guangzhou’s efforts in bringing people together to fight against COVID-19. And she also conveyed gratitude from the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou for the Guangzhou government’s efforts in coordinating airlines and simplifying the application procedure so that the consulate could send the medical supplies to U.S.
Editor: Olivia, Simon