This is the social media influencer and travel vlogger who sparked fury by travelling to an impoverished island and refusing to self isolate despite suffering from a virus-like infection that needed antibiotics.
She also said that she did not want to leave the picture postcard island of Socotra despite two repatriations flights that she could have caught because she did not want to go home and possibly infect her grandparents.
Instead, the young woman has been travelling round the island taking pictures with locals and staying in their homes as she posts constant updates about her life on her social media page.
Polish social media star Eva Zu Beck described the island which is part of Yemen as deserted, but in fact it’s home to more than 60,000 people, and has just one intensive care unit which would not be enough given the size of the population if the virus were to arrive.
Yemen is extremely impoverished following years of Saudi-led bombing in which medical facilities have also been targeted and there are reportedly only 500 ventilators available for the entire country including Socotra.
She is believed to have travelled through Bangladesh, Thailand and Egypt to get there.
She landed on March 11 – the day that the COVID-19 virus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
Many netizens have since branded her “selfish” and “immoral” with Ella Al-Shamahi, a member of the Socotra Archipelago Project starting a hashtag to urge Zu Beck to self-isolate.
She wrote: “Social media influencer @evabiankaz who went to Socotra island, Yemen during COVID-19 *STILL* refuses to self-isolate (or leave), she is hyper mobile travelling all over the island & interacting extensively with Socotris. Please respectfully reach out to her.”
The blogger boasted in a recent CNN interview about her love for rural, isolated areas. “I prefer to be out in nature and living alongside rural communities, who have been kind enough to welcome me into their homes.”
Other critics included a netizen called ‘Habibiline’ who tweeted: “This vlogger keeps calling Socotra a ‘desert island’ but the reality is there are over 60,000 people on the island. She intentionally decided to miss two evacuation flights, as she does not want to infect her grandparents but she doesn’t give two shits about people on the island.”
They added: “The island only has 1 ICU unit in order to deal with the pandemic.”
The travel blogger has finally taken to social media to issue an apology.
She wrote: “You have given me a new perspective and I apologise if I sent the wrong message before.
“Before, it felt safe to travel to different places around the island, but that’s no longer the case.
“Over the last 3 weeks, I’ve been spending the majority of my time in a family home in one village and intend to keep it this way.
“My intention was never to encourage active travel to remote places during a pandemic. Rather, I wanted to share the beauty of a place I was already in, a place that’s little-known and needs to be protected.
“Remote places and populations are at a higher risk from the virus – in part because of limited healthcare infrastructure.”
She announced that she is planning on soon leaving the island.
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Story By: Conor Sheils, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
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