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March 27, 2020

Philly native living in Beijing shares YouTube video praising China's coronavirus response

Drexel graduate Roy Aguilar fields questions about daily life in the country where the pandemic originated

Coronavirus Travel
Philly native in China Youtube/Roy Aguilar

Roy Aguilar, a Philadelphia native living in China, describes life under coronavirus restrictions in Beijing. The Drexel grad filmed a YouTube video to help people in other countries now experiencing similar restrictions.

A North Philadelphia native now living in China took to YouTube to answer questions about living under lockdown as the country combated the coronavirus outbreak. 

Roy Aguilar, a 24, posted a video Thursday titled "Q&A: Living In China During the COVID-19 Pandemic." Aguilar moved to Beijing last November to start a job as a blogger and film a documentary after graduating from Drexel University, NBC10 reported.

Aguilar made the video as a resource for people experiencing the pandemic in other countries. Ultimately, he praised the Chinese response to coronavirus. 

Cases peaked in China earlier this month. New cases have fallen to single digits in Hubei Province, where the pandemic originated. 

"The people of China understand this," Aguilar said. "They understand what they need to do to beat this thing. What I think separates them from other countries is that they are keeping others in check too." 

Watch the video below:

China opened fever centers to treat patients with COVID-19. Even patients with mild or moderate symptoms are kept these centers, isolating them from the rest of society, according to The New York Times. Temperatures are commonly taken before people use public transit and police actively enforce lockdown orders. 

Aguilar said he has been living under lockdown for about 60 days. Though the strict measures are uncomfortable, he finds them necessary. 

"Although it sucks, they're doing what's best for us, and I think that's what matters most," Aguilar said. "In China, the restrictions are slowly being lifted ... after two months."

The United States now has the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, having surpassed China earlier this week. As of Friday afternoon, the U.S. had more than 93,500 cases, including 1,200 deaths.  

In the video, Aguilar specified that his views are his own. He noted he is not a health expert and his experience is specific to Beijing.  

In some ways, Beijing's lockdown, as of late March, appears similar to the stay-at-home order Philadelphia is under. Some restaurants are offering takeout and people are working from home. In other ways, it looks very different: residents are not allowed on public transportation without a face mask and residents must stay within their own neighborhood or work area, identified by cards they must carry with them at all times. 

"To put it in Philly terms, it's kind of like you living in Hunting Park, and you want to visit a friend in Juniata. You won't be able to visit your friend in Juniata. In fact, your friend wouldn't be able to visit you either, because they don't live in that particular neighborhood."

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