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The Impact of Social Distancing as a Response to COVID-19 among Foreign Students in Wuhan, China

Gumbu Yeukai Lorreta, Timothy Marango and Leonard Chitongo


Published: 2020/12/01


The measures to contain the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic presented a myriad of challenges worldwide. The control measures included lockdown, social distancing and quarantine of infected people, among others. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of social distancing on international students at Central China Normal University (CCNU) in Wuhan, China, where COVID-19 first emerged in December 2019. The research design was exploratory, using a semi-structured interview guide to gather data from a sample of 20 international students at CCNU. Furthermore, secondary sources were used to validate the data. Data were analyzed using thematic content analysis. The findings showed some impacts related to social distancing: psychological distress, mental problems, relationship breakdown, fear, health problems, poor diet, and boredom. However, some students cited that social distancing enabled them to save money, focus on their lives, and improve their grades. Many informants revealed that they were willing to return to their countries as soon as the situation normalized.

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