An Update From Inside China #3
If you’ve been following along, you’ll have noticed that life here in China has been slowly devolving as the viral pandemic infects more people and becomes even more of a serious concern.
People outside of Asia are becoming increasingly curious about everyday life for us living here, especially as news channels in western countries are starting to phase out the virus.
While coverage was everywhere a month ago, the news cycle has moved on. But the situation in China is still getting worse, and everyday life is more and more affected by the changes made in the name of bettering public health.
If you’re wondering what updates you may have missed, you can check them out here on my previous updates from within China -
These updates aren’t what’s in the news, they’re what I’m seeing and experiencing living my everyday life in Shanghai.
So with that, let’s get started with the new update.
Time has passed, and things have not improved. In fact, we’re all confined to our apartments.
After a letter from the police, my partner and I have been asked not to leave the apartment except for emergencies.
I had to leave for one of my regular hospital visits today, and the experience was even weirder than last time.
The armed guards were still there, and more nurses were wearing hazmat suits.
The most notable difference was the brand new sign-in process.
This time when I tried to go inside the hospital, I had to scan a QR code that took me to an online form to fill out.
The questionnaire asked where I’d traveled to, who I’d seen, and what symptoms I’d displayed over the previous month.
After completing the questionnaire and passing the test, I was allowed to continue to the surgery department.
Once I’d arrived, I had to scan another code that validated the surgeon that I’d passed the health test. Only after validation would the surgeon let me into her office for the appointment.
An update that will concern the many foreign teachers living and working in China is news from the government that the upcoming school semester is delayed.
The spring semester was supposed to begin on February 17th, but many provinces in China have delayed the semester for up to a month.
Here in Shanghai, the new semester has an unconfirmed start date of March 3rd.
So if you have expat friends teaching in China, they may be on the road to financial instability.
Cover That Face
Lastly, there’s a grave shortage of masks here in China. Cities have started running lotteries to help them with mask distribution.
There are rumors of fights between officials representing Sichuan province and Yunnan province over masks that Yunnan was meant to send to Sichuan.
Everyone is using their masks a lot more conservatively and staying in as often as they can.
This means that every day when I go to the hospital, the streets and the subway are entirely abandoned.
I rarely see more than a handful of people when I go out onto the streets of one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
The sensation of being alone on the subway during what used to be peak hour is incredibly strange.
Our apartment complex has asked us to start cutting the straps on our used face masks before throwing them out. There are reports of desperate people digging through the trash for masks and putting themselves and all of us at risk.
Every day things start to feel tighter, and the stakes seem to keep getting higher.
We can’t work, we can’t leave home, and crisis is taking forever to be resolved. It feels like only a matter of time before somebody snaps.