The Chinese hiker who planned to travel through the African continent on foot has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and will be staying at a local hospital in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso to recuperate during the Mid-autumn festival, according to his latest update on Weibo.
Lu was in a serious condition when he was first diagnosed of malaria. A local hospital then reached the Chinese embassy and informed them of the man's condition. The embassy later asked the Chinese medical team in Burkina Faso to provide him with guidance and assistance, the letter released on Sept 3 said.
The embassy reminded Lu about the severe local security situation. It said that in January 2019, the Burkina Faso government declared a state of emergency in 14 eastern and northern provinces, including the province where Lu was located.
The letter also mentioned that Lu had crossed the border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, where there have been high numbers of terrorist-related activities, while also worrying about natural conditions and possibility of infection with tropical diseases like malaria and dengue.
"If it wasn't for the notice from the embassy, I planned to ride back to China," Lu said. "But I gave my bike to a staff member in the hotel I stayed."
He later recovered to be in stable condition, but planned to continue his journey to go to Niger or Benin, before hiking all the way to Egypt and flying back to China.
Lu's behavior caused controversy on China's social media platforms, with many netizens blaming him for being irresponsible, causing trouble to his home country, and wasting national resources.
He refuted the criticism as absurd. Lu said in response to such accusations, saying that he paid the medical expenses on his own.
He said that he had been relying on himself throughout the journey, even when in bitter situations with no income or support.
Traveling throughout Africa was part of his "round-the-world plan" that he had when he was at university in Nanjing of East China's Jiangsu province, Lu said. He departed from Suzhou by train on Jan 26, during the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak when lockdowns and transportation shutdowns were yet enforced.
Lu has been recording his journey and sharing his experiences on weibo, where he has about 400,000 followers. His social media account showed that he started his African trek in Morocco in March, and passed through several countries including Mauritania, Senegal and Mali.
During his travel, he snuck from one country to another four times because of the closure of land borders, including sneaking out of Mali in August before a military coup occurred. He also spent six months in West Africa because all flights were cancelled because of the pandemic.
This is not the first time that Lu was asked to stop his journey. The Chinese Embassy in Mali issued a consular reminder on April 12, warning that he would face great security risks in the area, calling on him to change his travel plans and be responsible for himself, others, and wider society, following multiple attempts to persuade him not to travel to the central and northern regions of Mali.
综合来源：上观新闻、澎湃新闻、Global times 新浪微博