Around noon the telephone rings, as it rings at the strangest moments the last few days. Usually at the times when I don’t sigh respond to questions from the doctor on WeChat during the mandatory quarantine that all inbound travelers have to go through. “Are you in room 6209?” I agree. “Were you on the plane in row 15, or did you twisted and changed seats?”
Became as soon as that, I think now. Three rows behind me, on the flight from Amsterdam to Shanghai, a passenger appears to have tested positive for corona. Bad luck. And a nightmare scenario in China. For that reason, I have mainly lived in a cocoon in recent weeks, first in Tokyo and then in the Netherlands. Not because I’m still very concerned about corona itself. About the consequences that would await me and my fellow passengers in China. For that reason, I had several extra cotton swabs drilled into the nose in addition to the test battery required by China. Each negative.
Now I’m still in an ambulance, taken away at the emergency exit of the resort. My repacked suitcases are on the stretcher, through a window I am separated from the well-packed paramedics. You are a pariah here, leprous almost. Until proven otherwise. And not yet, actually. I also tested negative in the past few days. At least I suspect, because results are not shared. “If you had tested positive, you would have known by now”, one of the nurses remarked with a laugh.
In Shanghai there is a central quarantine of two weeks. Which resort you end up in will remain a surprise for most until the last 2nd. It’s just a matter of how long you’ll be held at customs when your suitcase rolls off the conveyor belt. You hand in your proof of identity.
View here how the journey to the quarantine hotel went:
China correspondent Sjoerd den Daas is obliged to be taken to a stricter quarantine hotel
Passports and ID cards will not reappear until later, when the bus leaves your quarantine facility site. Freedom of movement, the choice to eat what you want is not there. My neighbor across the street complained this morning from the door portal about the one-sided menu during one of the three feeding moments, while a well-packed employee put packages in front of the door. “I’m from the northeast. My stomach is used to noodles, not rice.” I myself had managed to occasionally order some food online as a supplement, as long as I wouldn’t pass it on to my flight mates. A luxury, as I now know.
Need after the ambulance ride through the streets of Shanghai I end up in a scene that evokes similarities with the Netflix series Breaking Unfriendly, as one famous person called China’s penchant for white protective suits newest. There are dozens of yellow containers outside, nowhere have I seen doctors and other unknown employees packed as well as here. At 10, 15 meters away I am consciously directed up a fire escape by one of chicken by. Unlike the Netflix series, no chrystal meth waits inside, but chlorine tablets.
Chlorine tablets that must be placed in the toilet bowl two hours before the large or small message, as described in one of the contracts I had to sign. I also had to promise not to leave my room, on pain of an unknown fine and a note in the social credit system, which is being rolled out sparsely during this period. It also states that the authorities may carry out any tests they deem necessary. It is recommended that the window, the hinge of which gives about fifteen centimeters of leeway, is opened for half an hour at least three times a day.
Alarm phase 1
Visible symptoms of China’s fear of the delta variant, responsible for one of the largest outbreaks in the country since ‘Wuhan’ in recent weeks. With a total of about 1200 cases, the damage was limited by Dutch standards, but in China it was alarm phase 1. Although the vaccination rate is relatively high, the effectiveness of the Chinese vaccines against delta in the first studies is not something to worry about. write. Also because virtually no one in China has been infected with corona itself, the road to group immunity is long.
In that context, at least one remains too many, and relaxation is far away. Now moving away from the ‘zero covid’ strategy is, for several reasons, almost impossible.
Last summer several Olympians ended up in quarantine in Tokyo, a colleague also. That was after a positive take a look at. I’m curious to see what schedule China will come up with if the upcoming cool climate will host the Winter Olympics.