Josilda Ndreaj is an Albanian student who was living in Wuhan, China’s coronavirus epicenter, until a few days ago.
After a long and exhausting travel, she went back to her family in Golem, Durres, and is now trying to forget what she went through in China.
Josilda made an appeal through Top Channel to get help returning to Albania.
In an exclusive interview for Top Channel’s journalist, Muhamed Veliu, she explains what it means to live in the middle of a coronavirus outbreak.
Muhamed Veliu: The first thing going through your mind after learning that Wuhan was the epicenter of the coronavirus?
Josilda Ndreaj: The first thought was to get as much information as I could about the coronavirus because it was a new situation for everyone.
There was not enough information to understand what virus it was. I got my information by reading about it on Chinese media. This was the first phase, trying to understand what was going on.
Muhamed Veliu: Did this situation put you in some sort of panic?
Josilda Ndreaj: I can’t say it was panic, but I tried to analyze the situation. Panicking doesn’t resolve anything. I tried to keep calm.
Muhamed Veliu: Was there any infected student at the university you were attending?
Josilda Ndreaj: No, there wasn’t any infected student from our university. They are still taking measures to not let the virus spread on the campus.
Muhamed Veliu: Did you seek help from the Embassy when you were looking for information on the situation?
Josilda Ndreaj: I tried to communicate with the consulate of our embassy, but my request at that moment was not very clear, because I couldn’t understand what was going on.
They asked me to send an email to the Embassy but at that phase, it was impossible for me to specify what was going on because I was alone.
I stopped seeking help through emails because I had to manage my time and find out a solution. I wanted to go back to Albania as soon as possible. I couldn’t live any longer in that situation.
It was unsafe because things were happening very fast. We were hearing new stuff about the virus each day, and I was alone.
If I would catch the virus, I wouldn’t even have my parents with me, or the support of any other authority. I thought it was best to stay away for some time until it gets under control.
Muhamed Veliu: Why did you decide to come back to Albania?
Josilda Ndreaj: When the virus started spreading I was outside the campus.
That’s when I realized what was going on, because I was alone in a foreign country, without the support of the faculty or of the university.
I wanted to go back and stay with my family until the situation improved.
Muhamed Veliu: What about the other students in China, who you are keeping contacts with. Do they want to come back?
Josilda Ndreaj: I don’t think it’s up to them, because the borders over there are closed and there aren’t many options to travel.
They are waiting for new instructions, whether they will be allowed to move to other territories or travel outside Wuhan.
Muhamed Veliu: You said that you flew from Shian to Beijing, Milan, and then to Albania. What happened during those flights? Were there medical tests taken?
Josilda Ndreaj: I was tested in every area, starting from Shian, where they measured the body temperature in metro stations.
There were tests at every airport. Even at the final station, Milan, we were tested three or four times by Italian doctors.
They wouldn’t let ut leave the plane without being tested. All passengers went through several tests, to make sure.
Muhamed Veliu: What happened when you arrived in Tirana?
Josilda Ndreaj: We were also tested since I was coming from China. I passed without any problem. Here in Albania, I was surprised to read the news portals.
It was unimaginable, the amount of inaccurate news they were posting, without any evidence. They need to know that by using some specific terms to get more views, they can hurt people.
Not only me but also the families of other students who are currently in China.
Their relatives and families are worried and panicking about their dear ones who are currently in other Chinese cities, because of these untrue news reports.
Muhamed Veliu: What would you say to the Albanian students who live in China and their families here?
Josilda Ndreaj: They shouldn’t panic. I am not competent enough to give more details regarding the situation.
But there are many Albanian students in other areas that aren’t affected as bad as Wuhan. It is now up to them to take preventive measures. It will be easier for those students.
Muhamed Veliu: Will you go back to China, to continue your studies?
Josilda Ndreaj: I will follow this situation very closely and I will go back to China because I have to attend my university studies.
I will take action depending on how the situation unfolds.
Muhamed Veliu: What was the reaction after Top Channel published your appeal for helping you get back home?
Josilda Ndreaj: Many people offered their help, right after Top Channel published the report.
And it caught me by surprise, it made me understand that there are many positive people as well. I want to thank them all.
I am very grateful to those who offered assistance in such a hard time. Thank you.