A Greater Noida residential society witnessed high drama late on Wednesday after a Chinese national locked himself up in his third-floor flat for close to 15 hours fearing being lynched by locals after the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) scare. The incident took place late on Wednesday night after residents of ATS Green Paradiso society came to know that the Chinese national had not been coming out of his flat and was on medication. The residents informed officials, following which police and health department officials reached the spot.

The Chinese national panicked and refused to come out for over 15 hours. Police and health officials had to camp outside his flat from Wednesday late night till Thursday noon, when the man finally came out. He was immediately whisked away to the Government Institute of Medical Sciences, where a samples was collected for a coronavirus test. The man later tested negative for the virus.

Officials said that the man had come back from China on February 2 and has completed the required 28 days of isolation to confirm that he isn’t infected with coronavirus.

“It took over 15 hours for us and the police to convince the Chinese national to come out as he was scared that he would be attacked by residents because of the language barrier. We tried everything, but he wasn’t ready to come out. He was not able to understand English or Hindi. So then we used a language translation application to communicate with him in Chinese,” said Dr Anurag Bhargava, chief medical officer, Gautam Budh Nagar.

“The person was tested and his sample report has come out negative. Residents of the society were panicking and kept calling us the whole night and till he came out of his flat on Thursday afternoon. He was taken to GIMS after that. He was just suffering from regular cold, cough and fever,” added Bhargava. Officials have also said that the Chinese national had been screened at Delhi airport on arrival too.

The residents of ATS Green Paradiso society said they have got in touch with the human resource department of companies whose Chinese and Korean employees were residing there.

“Residents are scared of the coronavirus threat. Few residents were worried as the concerned Chinese national was undergoing treatment and wasn’t coming out, so they called the police and health officials. We took the help of another Chinese national and a language translation application to communicate with him,” said BG Hajela, president, ATS Green Paradiso Apartment Owner Association.

“We received a call from the residents informing about the Chinese national. Our officers had gone to the spot, but the matter comes under the health department,” said Sujeet Upadhayay, Station House Officer, Beta 2.

The district health department has been holding various awareness programmes to check rumour mongering and panic. It has reserved 10 beds at Government Institute of Medical Sciences and 9 beds in Super Specialty Children Hospital in isolation for coronavirus cases.