When I first read the news about the novel coronavirus at the end of 2019, I thought that it was far away from me. Before, we heard news about H1N1 or H5N1. However, we’ve never seen anyone terrified of them and no one was really taking it seriously back then. That’s why many people, including myself, didn’t think that the coronavirus would spread very far.
It was the Chinese New Year holiday when the widespread warning about the virus was launched, and passenger screening started at airports and subway stations. This is my third year working in Beijing. We were supposed to go back to work on January 31. But so far, staff have been allowed to work from home to prevent the spread of the virus.
At the beginning, I was a little scared when I saw everyone wearing masks everywhere and the number of commuters had decreased dramatically. As for meat in the shops nearby, it was out of stock within a few days, so I bought eggs, drinking water and rice just in case I couldn’t buy them later. Soon, I found that I could still buy anything I want. So, I felt relieved. Food stores and restaurants are still open. Even in this situation, no shopkeepers raise prices of their stocks.
Now in my community, only one small gate is open, which only admits one person at a time. The elderly people in the community take turns at the gate to help people check in and out as well as check body temperatures using digital thermometers. Everyone in the community has been given safety instructions and health alerts. Strangers will no longer be allowed to enter. In the past, food delivery men sent packages to one’s door. For the moment, we have to pick up what we ordered at the gate.
I usually go for a walk to the nearby convenience stores or supermarkets to buy water and food almost every evening. Upon entry, the security guards measure my body temperature using a digital thermometer. I feel really safe as each community is working on preventing the spread of the virus with all necessary measures.
At work, a senior official at the office created a WeChat group specially to ask about our health and well-being on daily basis. As many of my colleagues share with me the latest news updates and necessary information about the virus, I feel like I am being taken care of more than ever.
At the entrance of subway stations, staff are checking body temperatures. Most shopping malls remain open as usual, and many shops inside are still open. We can still order food online. Except for seeing fewer crowds than before due to the epidemic, everything runs normally.
Chinese celebrities and people from outside China are now supporting people in Wuhan by creating videos or composing songs for them. Those videos can now be watched online. Although Wuhan, which hosts over 11 million people, is the city where the virus originated, not all people are infected. Although the city has been locked down for their safety, I’ve a lot of sympathy for them and I can feel their depression.
Very recently, I read the news about Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Wuhan. I’m sure that his visit will be a big encouragement for people in Wuhan.
As for me, although China is not my birthplace, I feel like it’s my second home. I am now praying for China to overcome this situation very soon.
Stay strong, Wuhan! Stay strong, China!
The article is reposted from China Report ASEAN with editing.