A Chinese Australian woman living in Beijing has been fired from her job after leaving quarantine to jog

By Jason Duaine Hahn
March 20, 2020 03:50 PM

A woman living in Beijing has reportedly been fired from her job and ordered to leave the country after she broke coronavirus quarantine to go for a run.

According to CNN, the 47-year-old Chinese Australian woman arrived back in the country from Australia on March 14. The next day, she reportedly went for a jog outside of her residential building without a face mask, in defiance Beijing’s rule requiring people returning to the city from overseas to self-quarantine to limit the spread of coronavirus, which is said to have originated in central China.

A video posted to social media following the incident allegedly showed a community worker confronting the woman outside of her apartment door.

“I need to go running. I need to work out,” the woman is heard telling the worker, according to CNN. “If I fall sick, who will take care of me? Will you come?”

Another video allegedly showed two police officers in face masks reprimanding the woman defying the orders.

“I tell you, no matter [if] you’re Chinese or a foreigner, you have to comply with the law of the People’s Republic of China,” an officer tells the woman In the video. “This is to protect yourself and to protect others.”

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Chinese workers wear protective suits in Beijing
Kevin Frayer/Getty

The video sparked outrage over social media and later led to her being fired by her employer, the Chinese subsidiary of the pharmaceutical giant, Bayer.

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“According to relevant rules, the company has decided to dismiss the employee, effective immediately,” the company said on a statement posted to social media, according to CNN. “All employees of Bayer China should strictly obey the various measures imposed by local governments to fight the Covid-19 epidemic, as well as local law and regulations.”

Immigration authorities then canceled the woman’s work visa and ordered her to leave the country.

An illustrative picture of a coronavirus patient
Getty

“Right now, the epidemic is accelerating its spread overseas, and preventing overseas infected cases from being imported (back to China) has become the priority among priorities in our epidemic prevention and control work,” Beijing’s deputy police chief, Pan Xuhong, told the outlet. “Beijing is at the forefront of that defense against imported cases.”

As of Friday afternoon, coronavirus — also known as COVID-19 — has sickened more than 250,800 people and at least 10,368 people have died, according to the New York Times. Mainland China has experienced the most cases (80,928), with Italy (41,035) and Spain (19,980) being the second and third most affected countries so far.

The United States has seen 15,650 cases and 202 deaths.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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