2020/03/21

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Woman fired from job in US after concealing coronavirus symptoms


A woman who concealed her coronavirus symptoms to fly to China has been fired from her job back in the United States.
37-year-old Jie Li worked for the biotech company Biogen in Massachusetts. The company has become infamous amid the Covid-19 outbreak with 30 percent of confirmed infections in the state coming from Biotech employees.


The flight


According to officials in Beijing, Li fled the US after experiencing coronavirus symptoms but being refused a test to confirm her suspicions by a Massachusetts hospital.
However, local news outlets report that Li was, in fact, tested for the coronavirus but split before the (positive) results came back.
Either way, Li, boarded an Air China flight from Los Angeles to Beijing on March 13 with her husband and son.
Prior to the flight, Li took some medicine to keep down her fever. When asked if she had taken any medicine, she lied and said no, blaming her sickly condition on low blood sugar.
It was only shortly before arriving in Beijing that Li came clean.
Upon arrival, she and her family were taken to the hospital. She tested positive for the coronavirus while her husband and son were put into quarantine for observation.

The fallout


Almost 60 people who came into close contact Li were put under observation.
Beijing officials accused of her putting the health of the planes flight crew and fellow passengers at risk by not disclosing her health status. A criminal investigation has been opened against her.
Meanwhile, back in the US, Biogen announced that they have fired Li, stating that her behavior has been inconsistent with company values. The company said that she had not informed them of her plans to travel to China.
Li is reported to be a Chinese citizen who has lived in Belmont, Massachusetts since 2015. She earned a Ph.D. in statistics at the University of Iowa before going on to teach with her husband at Virginia Tech. She had worked as the associate director for biostatistician at Biogen for a little more than a year.
I hope theyre being treated well in China, one of her neighbors told reporters. Very nice people and wonderful to the neighborhood.
As the focus in China has shifted from domestic transmissions of the coronavirus to imported cases, Lis saga has become of the biggest news items in the country alongside the story of an Australian woman who is to be deported after violating quarantine in Beijing by going out for a jog.


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