When the hard part is done: Ukrainian in China told about life in quarantine and after it

In a pandemic the entire world, from China to the US, is experiencing similar problems and facing similar challenges. Ukrainian, living in Beijing, told “Voice of America” about how passed quarantine in a country where an outbreak of the coronavirus, and as China is gradually returning to normal. Hereinafter in the first person.

Когда самое трудное позади: украинец в Китае рассказал о жизни на карантине и после него

Photo: Shutterstock

18 Nov 2019, strict Beijing late autumn when the temperature is 15 degrees we received from landlords about the danger: “a Deadly infection found in hospital Chang…”

Funny Chinese, so nervously react to seasonal flu, we thought with my wife. Probably, they have no mass SARS, because Beijing in the winter the humidity drops to 15%. So we, like many others, ignored this message and continued to live a normal life.

Happily ever after “died down” all Ukrainian holidays and we expect the onset of the Spring Festival (Chinese new year). This year it was much earlier than usual — 24 Jan, so January seemed solid holiday. On 22 January we went to check the final preparations for a Christmas fair in a large Park in the city. Surprisingly, the usually overflowing with people, the Park was almost empty. Probably busy at home, preparing for the holiday, we thought.

But then “surprise” was even more…

Spring festival began with empty streets. Well, that all went to the village to parents, it’s tradition, come to mind. The next day opened a cafe Starbacks. Nothing to do, the Chinese have until February 1 the official weekend. Well, well, well Park, and the fair is closed why? In Wuhan found the virus. This far, let’s wait for the 1st and everything should return to normal rhythm of life.

1 February greeted us with a void…

It’s not quite normal. Today was supposed to start work week, but it is not. Everything is closed, people on the streets — almost none. We’re in the news, and then more than 11 000 patients.

We go to the market — closed. The store is closed. But supermarkets Wallmart opened. There is no panic, but the reality is becoming more clear. Have started stockpiling food, but how we will be sufficient? And suddenly after 10-15 days all will stop? Well, purchase. Your confidence is growing.

“No masks inside. Stay at home”. This is not a ban, just a recommendation, but when you see empty streets, I understand that this is not a joke. The next day on leaving the house we see a red ribbon, a message indicating that the entrance exit only through the main entrance.

“Hello, will you bring water?” “No, only from the 10th of February!” Down in the lobby. There are also vending machines with bottles of water (10 l). Buy 3 bottle (we’re Ukrainian). The next day, the machines are empty.

Another message from the tenants: “Please come to the lobby with passports, and contract and complete a pass to the house.” For what? That’s stupid! We have a card entry! Card more on a work — only permit. Later we learn that all Chinese citizens in the social network Wechat daily fill in a form about their whereabouts. Any movement around the country immediately punished by quarantine for the entire family for 14 days.

Quarantine. I sit at home. Dear children, your soccer practice is canceled until the situation improves. Reality realized in full. What to do, there’s Netflix! But it is banned in China. VPN, DNS servers and voila, at least one joy in life.

“Dear parents, in connection with the epidemic lessons in school from 17 February will not continue! Expect the following messages.”

Watching the capital’s airport. One by one all of your flights, the airline canceled until April or until may. The only airline Etihad holds to the last.

Sitting week. “Good morning, today, the number 10, the water will be?” “No, start from 17 February.” Oh my God, this could last forever. All measured temperature. People only come out in grocery stores and pharmacies. The streets are dead. Christmas decorations were never removed.

Sit one more week. Children need air. Hesitant to bring children into the street. What happiness! At the site almost no one and no kicking. First appeared on the street in three weeks. Run enough to even break a sweat.

Mask wearing is impossible. New nowhere and no one. There is no choice. Mask put on old, dirty, but worn as government decisions are not discussed. Breathing hard. Begin freebies to lower the nose just a mouth. Breathe in the masks becomes unbearable.

25 Feb comes my shipment that I ordered another January 28 in Chinese companies selling goods over the Internet Taobao. But shipping to home is not allowed, so all the packages are on the ground and wait for the addressee.

But something begins to change. The water promised to deliver in 30 minutes after ordering. On the streets there were people. The roadway is still empty.

So we met March. To work began to emerge office workers. First, those who have their own transport. Authorities strongly asked to avoid public transportation, though, even for a day it did not stop. I decide to take one station in the metro. Who knows what Beijing will say that it is catastrophically empty subway.

It appears that the virus retreats. The government begins to loosen the belt. Our favorite market re-opened and again filled with fresh vegetables and fruits. Now you appreciate things much differently.

Mode certain of the restrictions in the coming weeks, it is already easier to get used to. Can go to the store, the market, and even earned a pizza delivery. We wear masks, pick up the goods delivery from the street, watching movies, studying in online school, run with the ball in the yard. Oh, saints of the Beijing emperors! Barber, you’re wide open!!! Finally!!

Meanwhile, the world is plunged into darkness…

The middle of March — our first attempt to go beyond the district. All solved, we’re going to the Park! Register online and… get a ticket for tomorrow. Access to the Park is regulated. To sit on the benches impossible to walk without masks… But not even allowed to walk, and we are not at home.

Meanwhile, the world again is changing our reality. The number of patients managed to fall to 80 and back to 140. All new patients were removed from international flights arriving in Beijing. All passengers since March 15, is tested for the presence of the virus in the airport. All passengers sit in quarantine outside of Beijing. Patients, to and from the airport with my bags, brought to the hospital.

Educational institutions are still closed. In restaurants, people are seated one at the table — even those who came in pairs. Restrictions in multi-storey buildings has not been removed. All entertainment centers are closed (theatres, cinemas, galleries, tourist area, amusement parks, etc.).

60 days on the reservation, and understanding what will happen, still no. Children are already starting to forget the Chinese language and friends. While saying that the lessons will be resumed on may 1, but it is, perhaps, lay. Several hairdressers and restaurants were only signs and empty spaces.

However, after a significant drop in investment, agriculture and industrial production, since March, the Chinese economy began to recover. Almost 100% of the enterprises in such regions as Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Shandong, Guangxi and Chongqing, have returned to work.

The government ordered the company to partially pay salaries to its employees during a quarantine. Assistance was provided over the key enterprises of the country, managed to organise Charter trains, buses and planes to return to work more than 4 million migrant workers. The farmers went back to the tea plantations and rescued the harvest of spring tea, which is a strategic asset of the nation.

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