Britain's quality education has been highly attractive to hundreds of thousands of Chinese over the years, but many such students now face a dilemma: should they stay where they are and push on with their studies, or should they return to China, where they may feel safer?
As British universities have closed, meaning students have to do remote learning, many Chinese have opted to go home.
Luo Hannan, a health economics master's student at the London School of Economics, said she was fortunate that she decided relatively early to take a flight back to China, which cost 3,252 Chinese yuan ($458 or 370 pounds) from London to Shanghai via Moscow.
Even given the risk she might have exposed herself to during the long-haul international flights, Luo said she still thinks it was wise to return home given the unclear safety guidelines issued by the British government at the time. "I had to return to China anyway, otherwise I would have had to overstay my visa due to the lock down or canceled flights."
Another consideration was whether overstayers would receive proper healthcare, which was unclear at that time, given the limited health resources in the UK.
"So, it was better to return as soon as possible for me," she said. "Also, as COVID-19 was not as lethal as Ebola, even if I caught it during the flight, I would definitely get timely and affordable treatment in China."
Now, as commercial flights between the two countries have been suspended, securing a seat on a flight to China could cost as much as a few thousand pounds, for a trip involving numerous possible stopovers.