An empty road in Shanghai

With most of the world seemingly under lockdown now, I didn’t think there was much scope for another “Life Under Lockdown” post. I was even toying with the idea of a new series, “life After Lockdown” based on the improvements to our situation here in Shanghai. However, events of the last weekend served as a reminder that, even if we’re not totally under lockdown, China is, and it’s getting stricter.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been able to get out more for non-essential trips. My wife was on one such trip last Friday. As she returned home, I could see from the app on my phone that the car was parked downstairs, but she didn’t get home for another 40 minutes. When she eventually returned, she explained that there had been an emergency residents’ committee meeting. The son of one of our neighbors would be returning from his studies at a European university the following Sunday so plans had to be formulated for his quarantine.

These plans would require the adding of additional surveillance to his parents’ apartment to trigger an alarm with the local police if there was any unauthorized departure. They were taking this seriously. They also decided that one of the building’s two elevators would be off for several hours each day to allow for the collection of household waste and subsequent disinfection of the elevator.

Saturday came and, with it, the news that the student would be detained at the airport for 24 hours until his virus check was completed. With so many 10-15 minute tests hitting the market, it seems that the authorities are still using the older, slower tests. Maybe they’re still more accurate.

Sunday passed without incident.

On Monday morning, the excitement started to build. Not only was the famous student returning home, but he would also do so in style. In an ambulance (not so stylish I’ll grant you) with a police escort. As 11:45 drew close everyone was at their windows to see the show, phones at the ready to record the events for posterity. We later found out that the local party chief was in attendance, as were two videographers, to ensure that everything was handled properly and securely.

Later on Monday, the Shanghai government announced that as from March 25th, all arrivals at the airports would be automatically quarantined at government facilities (converted sports halls, I think) for 14 days. I guess that’ll free up the ambulances, police and party chiefs for more important duties.

All the best and take care!