The "sanitary packages" distributed to the overseas students. /Weibo
China has about 1.6 million students studying abroad. Many returned home after the COVID-19 pandemic began its global spread, but about 1.42 million have stayed in their host countries and regions.
During a press conference on last week, Ma Zhaoxu, Chinese vice minister of foreign affairs, said most of the overseas students prefer to stay where they are in order to avoid cross infections on the way back home.
In order to protect the students and make sure they have sufficient supplies, the Chinese embassies have distributed 500,000 "sanitary packages" to overseas students, which included face masks, disinfectant sprays, sanitizers and guidelines to self-protect during the outbreak.
Some students have shared the content of the packages on social media.
A Chinese student in Milan, Italy, took a video of the package showing the 20 face masks they received as well as a box of Lianhua Qingwen Capsule – a Traditional Chinese Medicine that was included in the "Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Diagnosis and Treatment Scheme" by the National Health Commission – and a handwritten calligraphy work of two poems expressing care towards the students.
Ma also revealed that before the parcels were delivered to the Chinese embassies, some diplomatic missions had purchased materials to distribute to the students. The Chinese Consulate in San Francisco handed out their own materials to the Chinese students.
Face masks, sanitizers and disinfectant sprays are hard to come by in supermarkets and pharmacies around the world.