Guangzhou has found a novel way to keep in touch with people arriving from west Africa, which has been afflicted with the Ebola virus: give them free mobile phones.
Every single traveler who arrives in the city from Guinea, Libera, or Sierra Leong will get a health care package that includes a thermometer, local map and free mobile phone with a SIM card pre-installed.
“Passengers who get the phone should keep it turned on for the following 21 days. In this way, disease control personnel can track and contact them as quickly as possible,” said Wu Huiming, deputy head of the entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureau.
So far authorities have handed out 98 phones.
Guangzhou is known as Africa’s capital in China, with some estimates that 200,000 Africans are living in the city. The strong links with Africa have made concerns about the spread of Ebola particularly acute in the city. If anyone rejects the mobile phones or health package, they will be blacklisted the next time they try and enter the country.