First of all, apologies for the silence. You last heard from me on the blog when were there was "a virus in the city of Wuhan". Here we are, 3 months later - in the midst of a pandemic and a changed world.
I have written about my own experiences during this crisis here:
One month in lockdown - here is what I've learnt
Coronavirus outbreak - what are you up to Beijingers?
When will life go back to normal? The Beijing timeline
Covering up - it's still mandatory to wear masks in Beijing - and I like it
But how are things looking in Beijing right now? I thought it might be interesting for readers to hear about the current situation. So here it is - put into "can" and "can't" bullet points.
Situation as of 26 April 2020:
In Beijing we can
In Beijing we can't
Our freedom to move around within Beijing is highly appreciated! Friends around the world including our family in Italy are not that lucky. Some countries are allowing only essential grocery shopping - and in Manila where my bestie Christina lives, people are not even allowed to walk their dogs! Interestingly enough, Beijing has never obliged people to stay home and forced shops and restaurants to close. How has this been possible? Following the lockdown of Wuhan, there have been very few local infections in Beijing. Since mid-March, the problem became imported cases from abroad. 90% of new infections have been Chinese passport holders flying in to Beijing from overseas. Since 28 March, borders are closed for foreigners and all international flights are deviated to other cities in China. There, every passenger is screened and the majority tested. Once they test negative, they can proceed to Beijing where they're sent directly to 2 weeks of hotel quarantine (home quarantine for the lucky ones) and 1 extra week of self observation. Technically, this means that people who have symptoms of COVID-19, are currently in quarantine or have finished their two weeks of quarantine, making it safe to walk the streets of Beijing. One may argue that the city has handled the outbreak with extreme measures such as strict quarantine for infected people or returnees, monitoring people's every move and measuring their temperature several times a day - but it has worked. The city of roughly 25 million people has had a total of just over 500 cases of COVID-19 to date.