2 апреля 2020  |  
3:30 PM  March 18, 2020

Foreign universities call home their students studying in Tomsk

© РИА Томск. Павел СтефанскийForeign universities call home their students studying in Tomsk

TOMSK, Mar 18 – RIA Tomsk. Foreign exchange students studying in Tomsk began to receive recommendations from the authorities of their countries and the administrations of sending universities to return home in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. Students themselves told RIA Tomsk why some of them leave while others stay.

It was previously reported that an outbreak of pneumonia caused by a new type of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was recorded in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019. The disease is called COVID-19. On March 11, WHO announced a coronavirus pandemic. Since March 17 all universities of Tomsk in accordance with the recommendation of the Ministry of Education and Science switched to distance learning.

© РИА Томск. Павел Стефанский
And in early March, foreign students who study in Tomsk in academic mobility programs began to receive letters from their "native" universities and diplomatic structures of their countries with recommendations to return home. Documents from the UK, USA, Finland, Czech Republic and other countries are at the disposal of RIA Tomsk.

"Aalto University advises Finnish citizens and residents to return as soon as possible, as returning in the near future is likely to be even more problematic", – says a letter from a Finnish university.

It is safer in Siberia

However, not all foreign students are in a hurry to return to their countries. The main argument they make in favor of not leaving Tomsk – is the comparative safety of Siberia, since the incidence rate here is still much lower than in Europe.

So, a student from the UK, Felix Pullen, who came to our city to study Russian, told the agency that now he sees no reason to return, since he considers the situation in Tomsk much better than at home:

"At the moment, the Russian authorities have not yet blocked flights, so I can still go home if I want. But at the same time, I don’t understand why I should go if I still can’t do anything there, and there are in Tomsk restaurants, cafes and bars are open, everything is working fine. In the UK, people are more scared, and there is a feeling that it will be even worse later".

Felix added that he might decide to leave if the situation with the coronavirus escalates in Tomsk, but at the moment he’s sure that this should not be done.

Another argument in favor of Tomsk is that traveling in today's situation - is an even greater risk, since the plane and the airport are dangerous places in the midst of an epidemic.

"I plan to wait a bit and see how the situation develops. I’m sure that the situation in Moscow is much more dangerous, especially at the airport", – said a student who arrived in Tomsk from Finland.

If it's quarantined, then at home

Those students who decided to follow the recommendations and return home, believe that the pandemic violated their plans for training and spending time in Tomsk, and it is better quarantine at home, in the usual conditions. In addition, foreigners are not sure whether their medical insurance will work in Russia in case of infection with COVID-19.

"I decided to leave because the situation with the virus does not give confidence and I do not want to end up self-isolated in another country where I can’t leave home or even just leave Tomsk. I would prefer to isolate myself in a country where I feel much more comfortable, surrounded by a family where I will be guaranteed access to medical care", – a student from the UK Rosario Rospo said.

Young people are also worried about their relatives who are experiencing a pandemic in Europe, and want to return to support them. Many students, especially from Italy, urge Russians to take risks responsibly in order to prevent the scale that the pandemic has reached in their countries.

Earlier it was reported that at the end of 2019 students from 91 countries of the world studied at Tomsk universities. The editors asked Tomsk universities for information on the number of foreign students who left in connection with the coronavirus.

About the situation with coronavirus

According to Izvestia, as of the morning of March 18, the number of cases in the world is more than 180 thousand people, about 7.5 thousand died.

As TASS previously reported, as of the evening of March 17 in Russia were recorded 114 cases of COVID-19 infection, including two in Kemerovo and one in Krasnoyarsk. Five people (two Chinese citizens, two Russians and an Italian) have already recovered. No cases of coronavirus infection have been detected in the Tomsk region yet.

Сайт РИА Томск /riatomsk.ru/ содержит информацию, подготовленную Региональным информационным агентством "Томск" (РИА Томск) с территорией распространения – Российская Федерация, зарубежные страны.
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