Chinese orphanage with Gympie links in coronavirus lockdown
THE Gympie woman who has been saving the lives of China's most innocent and vulnerable children for 22 years has revealed the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the orphans and staff under the care of her organisation, Chinese Orphans Assistance Team.
Linda Shum, otherwise known as Grandma Angel, said her orphanages had been in lockdown since the beginning of the crisis.
"For the first eight days, we could not even change shifts because it was forbidden for people to travel from home to work and vice versa," Mrs Shum said.
"On the ninth day, using surgical masks and changes of clothing, we were allowed to have changes in the shifts.
"Currently the teachers from our school are doing the dayshift and the aunties care for the children during the night.
"People are allowed to go out every second day to buy food but they must adhere to a strict regime of surgical masks, changes of clothing and stringent washing of hands.
"All the schools in the city are closed and pupils are doing lessons at home using the Internet.
"Our own school is closed because only our children - 35 of them - are allowed to come to our floors.
"All outside families must stay at home. All children in the care of the state run orphanage cannot come from the first second or third floors to our school which is on the seventh and ninth floors of the same building.
"The spirit of fear is alive and well. But we have done our best to make sure that the children are not afraid."
Mrs Shum said all the children and staff had their temperatures taken several times a day.
"If any child has a cough he is isolated in one of the bedrooms. At the moment no one has a temperature and only one boy has a cough.
"We did have one boy in hospital but tests proved that he did not have the coronavirus. He is now back home in our Eagles Wings homes where he is happy and safe.
"I dread to think of the consequences of this virus on the global economy. But I have seen first hand the Chinese government's edicts to try and prevent this scourge from spreading.
"I returned to Australia on December 1 and cannot see my next trip happening this year.
"The virus was in the news in China at the end of November, but it was isolated.
"Fortunately, I did not come in contact with it and of course I have long passed the quarantine time of 14 days.
"For now, we need to continue to keep everyone safe by observing the safety regulations now in place.
"I talked to China every day several times and I watch what is happening through communication from our staff.
"Our senior directors did travel over Chinese New Year, so they have to observe the 14 days quarantine before they can return to work.
"Fortunately, they are very well. See you there family seated around their dining room table in their home."