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African Ebola suspect released from quarantine in Chengdu after 17 days

After traveling for days via train and plane to Chengdu via Beijing from his hometown Gusau, Nigeria, Sani Mohammed Adullahi, 29, arrived at the Southwest Jiaotong University campus - to be taken directly the hospital for a health check.

Only later did a teacher explain that having arrived via the African continent Adullahi was required to be admitted to the Pixian Virus and Disease Control Prevention Center for a 21-day quarantine.

He'd had no time to recharge his laptop, and he needed an adaptor to plug it into the Chinese outlets. But he had no way to communicate this to the non-English speaker medical staff at the hospital.

A student assistant from the university helped with translation via text messages when Adullahi ran into daily problems such as purchasing a water boiler, fruits, water, a functioning network cable, or even explaining a scar on his right arm from a botched stitching job on a cut from a bicycle accident, which initially triggered additional suspicion among medical staff.

During his quarantine, Adullahi was barred from direct physical contact with anyone; hospital staff entered his room only while wearing gown, hats, masks, and gloves. Food and any other items were placed at a 5 meter distance from him. Adullahi was able to recharge his computer and video chat with his father, who had fretted that his son had fallen seriously ill and was shocked to learn of his son's treatment.

As Adullahi did not show any symptoms, he was released four days earlier than the standard 21-day period. Nonetheless, the time was extremely boring, he said.

Other students helped Adullahi to settle into his university appartment in Xipu last week, but he is still required to take his temperature every day and report on his health status.

While Red Cross rescue commander Gerry Foitik has warned against stigmatization of black Africans abroad following the Ebola outbreaks, the Chengdu Center for Disease Control and Prevention has declared that so far 70 people have been monitored since mid-August. Among these, 30 are still under observation. Most are Chinese citizens returning from West African countries; relatively few are African natives moving to Chengdu.



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