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Canadian student returning from China under quarantine
HALIFAX -- Myriam LaRouche recounts the day she was forced to leave Wuhan, China.
A Quebec native in her first semester of graduate school, she was in the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
"It was pretty weird and pretty scary, honestly," says LaRouche. "It's not something you're used to seeing in real life honestly."
She describes the apocalyptic feel of the city as it went into lockdown:
"Walking around the street and seeing nobody," says LaRouche. "It wasn't just nobody; it was no cars, busses, bicycles–nobody. So it was like 'what is going on?'–kind of like the end of the world."
LaRouche touched down on Canadian soil on February 6 with other evacuated Canadians.
She's currently staying at the Yukon Lodge in Trenton, Ontario and has been there under quarantine for nine days as of Saturday.
"Every time we step out of the room, we have to wear a mask, a facemask, just for everybody's safety," says LaRouche.
She says she's required to keep a two-metre distance from the others at all times. However, most of her time is spent in her room – trying to keep up with studies that were abruptly interrupted. Now, in a different time zone, she's learning her lectures in the middle of the night.
"I will have to wake up almost every day in the middle of the night to have classes because the classes are going to be given live," says LaRouche.
While most of LaRouche's anxieties of potentially catching the virus have been relieved - that's not the case for everyone in Canada, with negative stereotypes linking Chinese culture to the virus having evolved since the outbreak began.
Sean Song of the Greater Moncton Chinese Cultural Association says he sees where the concern comes from.
"We understand, and it's quite normal that people have stereotypes," says Song. "Even inside the Chinese community, some members, they still have concern for people who just came from China."
While Song understands some of the ignorance, he says it's important not to identify Chinese culture with the coronavirus.
"The fault is people, not the virus," says Song. Every people could be infected by the virus. Unfortunately, something happened, and we cannot control because we are human beings."
Meanwhile, LaRouche and others will remain under quarantine for six more days before they return to their home cities.