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J’can studying in China stranded in Malaysia, seeks help to get home

A Jamaican student enrolled at the University of China, but stranded in Malaysia due to a travel ban to China caused by the coronavirus outbreak, is appealing for financial assistance to return home to Jamaica.

Ramone Williamson, a graduate of the University of Technology (UTech) in Jamaica and a young medical professional and aspiring paediatric oncologist, created a GoFundMe page on Sunday to raise money, explaining that he had depleted all his resources after spending 28 days in Malaysia without knowledge of when he will be allowed to return to China to continue his studies.

In describing himself as “a member of a core research team that focuses on Osteosarcomas, Multiple Myeloma and the NK Cell-Based Immunotherapy and Tumour Immunology of various other cancers,” Williamson said he has co-authored and published several scientific research papers in a number of peer-reviewed journals.

The young Jamaican explained in depth on the website dedicated to allowing people to raise money for various events through crowdfunding, how he became stranded in the Asian country.

“Towards the ending of January just before the Chinese New Year, I left China for what should have been a short travel to Malaysia. Within two days I learnt that there was an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in the Wuhan province. The worst was yet to come, as three days later, the 2019-ncov (now referred to as COVID-19) had virtually spread to all provinces in China, and resulted in a number of deaths.

“At this point my programme co-ordinator had contacted me to inform me that based on the current epidemic and the worsening of the situation, I could not return to China, and that I should extend my travel for a few more days until given notice to return,” wrote Williamson.

He shared that days later, he attempted to return to China, but was informed that there were travel restrictions as well as a partial shutdown, and he was not allowed to return under any circumstances until notified to do so.

“… Failure to abide by the preventative measures implemented by the university and the provincial government would result in disciplinary action being taken,” added Williamson.

The Jamaican said he has been in Malaysia since that time, and has since been advised that his classes will be held online. Additionally, he was advised to return to Jamaica.

“Since then I have been stuck in a foreign country waiting and hoping each day that the situation will somehow get better and I would be allowed to return to China, as I was unable to travel elsewhere, due to travel bans imposed.

“Already having spent 28 days here with still no clear sign as to when I will be able to return, I again queried and was notified that classes will be conducted online and I should return home for the time being. Afterwards, given the progress of the situation, I can apply in advance to return, providing that the outbreak is under control,” Williamson informed.

In underscoring that he had depleted all his resources, Williamson appealed to persons to donate to aid in him staying “afloat until I can return home, as well as help with travel expenses,” adding that he would be “grateful” for the assistance.

As of Sunday afternoon, US$505 had been raised of a goal of US$5,500 on the GoFundMe page created by Williamson.

Persons willing to contribute can visit the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/InternationalStudentStuckabroadduetoCOVID-19?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet.

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