Galway businesses with links to China feeling the effects of coronavirus

By Han Guo

Local business people here in Galway say that the spread of coronavirus has disturbed trade between China and Ireland.

Frank Fahey, an Irish property developer who hosts Chinese-Irish students at Summer and Winter camps, said: “No doubt, business is going to be effected. According to the director of tourism in Ireland, all promotion in China has been stopped. Therefore, we are going to lose a lot of Chinese tourists this summer.”

Coronavirus is also affecting the retail sector in Ireland. The owner of a Chinese supermarket in Galway told the Galway Pulse that due to the impact of the epidemic, it was difficult for Chinese goods to be shipped abroad, and he has had to find other ways to buy Chinese cooking materials.

On the 28th of February a patient was diagnosed with COVID-19 in Northern Ireland. The following day, the first case was identified in the Republic.

The outbreak of coronavirus has had a huge impact on many industries such as the global industrial chain, education, transportation, tourism, and entertainment.

All Irish Visa Centres in China are closed, and because their opening hours are as yet uncertain, many Chinese students who plan to study English language courses in Ireland from May to June 2020 are at risk of not being able to apply for a visa.

Mr Sun, a Chinese student who got a conditional offer from NUIG told The Galway Pulse:

“ I would love to study computer science in Ireland as I know Ireland is the European Silicon Valley. I did a lot of work for studying abroad. Since last year, I attended several International English Language Testing System tests but all failed. I originally planned to go to NUIG to do an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) course in June. However, the Irish Visa Centre in Shanghai has not been opened yet and the specific reopening time has not been notified. I am afraid that I cannot continue my study in the Autumn.”

Travel between China and Ireland has also been disrupted; China’s Juneyao Airlines has decided to postpone flights from Dublin to Shanghai on March 29 due to continuing concerns about the coronavirus. China Hainan Airlines decided in August last year to cancel the six-month Dublin-Shenzhen route. So far, Ireland has no direct flights to China.

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