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'No regrets' for Briton staying in China during coronavirus pandemic

Scott Windass Image copyright Scott Windass
Image caption Scott Windass said his diet of mostly fruit, eggs and water lasted for about a month-and-a-half during a lockdown of Daqing, in northern China

A British man living in China during the pandemic says he has no regrets of staying in the country despite saying he was stopped entering grocery shops.

Scott Windass, 27, from Hull, has been teaching English in Daqing, northern China, for nearly three years.

He said he felt safer in China than in the UK because of the measures in place, but claimed he had been shunned from stores due to being "a foreigner".

His father Dave Windass said his son had "probably done the right thing".

"It was kind of awful but I was thankful that I was here," said Scott Windass.

Image copyright Scott Windass
Image caption The 27-year-old said he had to rely on his friends to get food

Mr Windass said he was surviving on "mostly fruit, eggs and water for about a month-and-a-half" and had to rely on his Chinese friends to get food for him during a lockdown of the city, which started in February and lasted nearly three months.

"Sometimes they just say 'no, you can't come in', other times they would physically block the entryway and put their hand up like 'no you're not coming in'.

"I don't think I was doing great but I know there were people far worse off than I was."

He said some shopkeepers thought he was American and he "didn't feel very welcome" .

Image copyright Scott Windass
Image caption The city of Daqing is in Heilongjiang Province, which is the northernmost province in China bordering Russia

In February, China launched a tracing app allowing people to check whether they have been at risk of catching coronavirus.

Mr Windass said despite the app showing "I'm healthy", shops would still turn him away.

His dad said: "I think it's totally understandable that people [in China] reacted like that really, because you can understand anxiety levels rising with people getting ill and dying.

"It's a worry and a concern.

"China gets a bad press, just in terms of this Western perception of the Chinese state and it's totalitarian nature. So there's all of those worries really and they're all natural to a parent."

Living alone in an apartment in the Heilongjiang Province city, the teacher said he felt lonely during the lockdown, which he "didn't expect would last as long as it did", but had tried to keep himself occupied by "reading lots of books" and staying in touch with family and friends.

Image copyright Scott Windass
Image caption Mr Windass said: "You just got what you could get and you just had to survive on that"

He said he had initially considered returning home but decided against it because "we were told it was getting better" with people "following every rule".

"Also, if I was to go back home it would be a question of when could I come back here to work because there's still no foreign entry into China at the minute.

"Right now I feel comfortable and happy here. I like my job. I have some good friends here and I enjoy it. It's very relaxed."

His father added: "As difficult as it is being thousands of miles away from your son, I think he probably did the right thing."

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