Korean students in Shanghai suffer after being stuck in their rooms
Korean students studying in Shanghai are confined to their dormitories after local authorities announced an unprecedented lockdown on March 28 amid the city’s biggest-ever Covid-19 outbreak.
However, many students have been stuck in their rooms for even longer, after universities announced their own lockdowns in mid-March.
Kim Seong-jun, the president of the Korean Students Association in Shanghai (KSAS), along with 300 other Korean residents in the city, has set up a group chat on Chinese social media app WeChat to try and help these students.
The community raised around 250,000 yuan ($39,266) in just two days, part of which will be used to send care packages to the confined students.
“We created the community and began accepting donations starting Tuesday, and endless support from individuals and groups continues to flood in. On Wednesday, we sent care packages to students who had urgent needs. Some ran out of drinking water while some had just 2 packages of ramen left to eat,” said Kim.
The Consulate of South Korea in Shanghai has been checking in with students living far from Korean communities in the city and delivering necessities, such as medication.
Students aren't the only ones suffering. Korean residents are having difficulties sourcing groceries due to high delivery costs. Some Koreans living in the same apartment block have started ordering together in bulk as a way to keep costs low.
“Delivery fees are very high right now as only those provided with a pass from the government are allowed to deliver packages. The KSAS is covering delivery costs from donations made by Korean residents,” said Park Chang-ju, the leader of a Korean volunteer community in Shanghai.
Despite the support, some students are still struggling as their schools prohibit deliveries.
“I have not been able to go outside of my room since Sunday as an in-room lockdown was announced. We are eating low-quality meals provided by the school twice a day because the school bans all deliveries,” said a Korean exchange student surnamed Moon who is studying at the East Asian Normal University.
Another Korean living in Shanghai said, “I heard there was a student who lost 10 kilograms (22 pounds) after getting sick from eating meals provided by the school. I feel so sorry for not being able to send care packages to students locked in their dormitories.”
A lack of cooking facilities is another issue some students are facing. Many Korean students studying in the city live in a studio apartments without any kitchen facilities.
Even those willing to return home due to the harsh conditions are facing issues due to limited flights.
“We are looking for ways to help these students, especially in relation to deliveries in the city and departures to Korea,” said an official from the Consulate of South Korea in Shanghai.
Choi Young-sam, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also addressed the issues in a press briefing. “The ministry sincerely hopes regulations will be lifted soon so that 3,000 Korean corporations and 28,000 Korean residents in Shanghai will experience less inconvenience.”
BY JEONG EUN-HYE [email@example.com]