Fijian student says pandemic no joke

Shayal Devi a second year Fijian student in Goa, India having experienced firsthand how scary the pandemic is in India. Picture: SUPPLIED

Take COVID-19 health advisories seriously.

That’s the plea from a second year Fijian student in Goa, India, having experienced firsthand how scary the pandemic was in India.

Shayal Devi, a Bachelor of Arts student at St Xavier’s College said the pandemic was “no joke”.

She said simple things such as putting a mask on, washing hands and maintaining social distancing from people saves lives.

“Just from what I’ve seen and experienced so far with regards to the pandemic and how it has affected India, I would advise people back home to take this seriously,” she said.

Originally from Lautoka, she said students had been extremely careful about their movements.

“We are now accustomed to staying in and following all safety precautions, such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.”

Ms Devi said one of the major challenges in India was the lack of care taken by other people in relation to precautionary measures.

“It’s not uncommon to see people without masks in public spaces or not heeding social distancing guidelines.

That’s the biggest fear for a lot of people who follow all regulations but are still at risk because of those who do not follow the rules.”

She said all students under the ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) scholarship had been frequently in touch.

And while the 26-year-old missed her home country, she also feared for the safety of her family as the number of positive cases in Fiji continued to rise.

“Yes, I certainly do miss home. Being in a foreign country during a pandemic is a scary experience, however, I have been lucky to have the support of local Indian friends who have always lent a helping hand.

“At the moment though, I am worried about my friends and family as the number of cases is also rising back home.”

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