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Photo: MTI/EPA/Roman Pilipej

A video lecture about the coronavirus pandemic was delivered on Monday by a Shanghai disease prevention and control expert to overseas Chinese and Chinese students in Hungary.

According to, the lecture was organized by the Shanghai Foreign Affairs Office, Shanghai Health Commission and the Embassy of China in Hungary.

Chinese Ambassador to Hungary Duan Jielong said there have been 447 confirmed cases and 15 deaths in Hungary. He said the Hungarian government had responded swiftly to order a state of emergency, with restaurants, entertainment venues and other public places closed. But normal work is going on.

“After the virus broke out in Hungary, the Chinese community, including Chinese students, actively organized events to learn about the virus and protection measures and also joined local people in preventing spread of the virus,” he said.

“There are over 40,000 Chinese Hungarians, some 3,000 Chinese students and 400 to 500 employees of Chinese enterprises. By now, none of them has been found with an infection.

“We are thankful for the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention to deliver this speech to share professional knowledge and experience in coronavirus prevention to us as the pandemic is developing here,” he added.

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Sun Xiaodong, deputy director of the Shanghai center, shared Shanghai’s experience in fighting COVID-19 and the situation in the city with the Chinese community in Hungary.

He stressed the importance of avoiding gatherings, wearing masks and washing hands regularly.

He said 70 to 80 percent of the 339 local cases in Shanghai were infected in gatherings of families, colleagues and friends.

He said that timely strict measures and enforcement are key to controlling the disease and said it was good to hear the Hungarian government had taken measures against the virus.

After his lecture, he answered questions raised by the online listeners.

Q: Many Hungarians are playing sports outdoors and children are also playing in parks, where there are mosquitoes and insects. Is it OK to have such outdoor activities? Will mosquitoes and insects transmit the novel coronavirus? And is it true that the virus can spread by aerosol transmission? How can we protect ourselves?

A: There’s no evidence that mosquitoes or insects transmit the novel coronavirus. Neither is there sufficient evidence for aerosol transmission.

Currently we only found that it can be transmitted via droplets among people within 1 meter without protective measures.

As long as you keep 1 to 2 meters away from others, you can have exercises or take a walk outdoors, even without a mask.

But central air-conditioning systems should be turned off inside buildings, and it’s also important to open windows for ventilation at least once an hour.

Q: How to protect ourselves when someone in the same apartment building is infected?

A: In Shanghai, the apartment building will be disinfected thoroughly if a resident is confirmed with an infection, and family members, as close contacts, will all be sent to designated places for quarantine and medical observation.

Other residents in the building should wear masks when going out and wash their hands after returning.

Q: How long can a mask be used?

A: We advise people to use a mask for no more than four hours. You can hang it in a well ventilated place and use it again if just a while. But if a mask gets wet due to breath or gets dirty, you should not use it again.

Q: There have been some reports that people of some blood types are more likely to get infected. Is that true?

A: I’ve read the report. The samples in the research are not sufficient. We haven’t found any connection between blood types and infectious diseases.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for Chinese students if they get infected?

A: Go to hospital and follow the advice of doctors. Do not hang around in the hospital so as to avoid cross infection.

Healthy students should not visit patients in hospital, it’s too risky.

Q: Many Chinese students share rented apartments. How to protect ourselves in shared rooms?

A: You don’t have to treat other people as “enemies” unless they are confirmed with an infection. Contact between people is inevitable. Just wear a mask and do not shake hands or indulge in any other intimate behaviors.

Wash your hands before touching your face, mouth or nose. But if you are alone in the room, you don’t have to wash your hands so regularly.

Q: Do I need to wash my clothes after returning home from outside?

A: The virus may stay on clothes but not for long. The wind and the sunshine both play adverse roles in the survival of the virus. Just wash your hands after returning and hang clothes in a ventilated place. You don’t have to wash them every time you return from outside, unless you have visited a hospital or had contact with an infected patient.

Q: When do you think Chinese students in Hungary should return to China?

A: You should make a judgment based on your health, your psychological state and the pandemic development in Hungary. Follow the travel advice of the Chinese embassy or ask other experts for advice.

Long-distance travel is challenging to people’s immunity. Among the 159 imported cases in Shanghai, many actually had no symptoms when they boarded flights in foreign countries. They got tired on the trip, leading to weakened immunity, and developed symptoms when they arrived in Shanghai.

Q: Do you have any other suggestions for overseas Chinese?

A: People are more likely to pay high attention to the pandemic when it breaks out but they are also likely to be stressed out or even show psychological problems. It’s necessary to have psychological counseling.

Don’t be over stressed. According to the experiences in Shanghai, the disease can be prevented, controlled and cured. Some with light symptoms can even recover by themselves.

But with the pandemic turning better, people are likely to relax their vigilance. We do not fully understand the virus now, such as the problem of aerosol transmission and people carrying the virus without symptoms. So please stay alert, as we are doing in Shanghai and China. 


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