Coronavirus Pandemic: Foreigners in Chengdu Share Thoughts on Outbreak

Authors: CGTN

2020-03-30

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, many foreigners across China have seen their business and employment come to a standstill. Despite this, many foreigners there chose to stay in Chengdu. CGTN reporter Wei Lynn Tang caught up with both an Italian and an American living in the city.
A slice of Sicily in the city of Chengdu, China. Meet Vito Lo Castro — the man behind this club. He often gets his hands messy, serving the best of home-cooked Italian food, wine, and hospitality to people here.
Vito spends 8 months a year in Chengdu. He calls it his second home, having been here for over six years now. And he stayed throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.
VITO LO CASTRO Italian Wine Merchant "China was the first country affected by this virus, they face it in a good way. So we have to use the same way. Not only in Italy, in each country, at the moment until the vaccine is out, the solution is to control the virus, stay home, take care, avoid going outside, use mask, all the prevention."
We heard Vito call one of his daughters who works in Milan. He later tells us that these daily phone calls used to be heated.
"At the beginning, it was very hard for me. Each day I call them in a strong way. I tried to convince them to stay home, to take care with weak results. But now, finally, they understand the situation is critical. At the beginning I was worried about them, but now not."
Kevin Moore, an American and good friend of Vito's, invites us to his home nearby. He has been an airline pilot for almost three decades, and hasn't had an international flight out of Chengdu in over a month.
"America is a very independent minded people and when people tell them to do something, they immediately question it. Most of the time it's a good mental attitude to have, but on things like these, the virus doesn't care what you think, your opinion, about democracy or socialism, it just infects everybody. The only real thing to do is to do what you're told."
Kevin's taking his 70 percent pay cut in stride, and says China came through faster than he expected in containing the pandemic.
"I think they have done as good as they could, they've had a rough start and everybody knows about that, but once they decided this was a proper course of action, the advantage they had was they make a decision and stuck to it, you and I are sitting here talking, that means things are getting better. If it wasn't better, I wouldn't be here or you wouldn't be here."
And neither would 72-year old Vito — who calls for people to reflect on the value of life.
"Forgotten values like solidarity, friendship, love to other people, hope, sacrifice. I hope the nations can think about this, don't compete only to guarantee the best GDP. This is not the best value, they have to take care about their health, physical, mental, spiritual of their people."
An opportune time to renew these values, he says, to better face the future. And after the clouds, there is renaissance and sunshine. Vito Lo Castro is optimistic.

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