onsdag 1. april 2020

I'm out of quarantine. But 'normal' isn't normal in China anymore

My Facebook feed bulged with post-lockdown food fantasies. Friends dreamed of a "salted caramel milkshake" or "a cheeseburger topped with feta, fried egg, and avocado with sweet potato french fries." But if there's anything I've learned after emerging from my own two-week quarantine in China, it's that we can't simply click our ruby slippers and return to life BC -- before Covid-19.

I'm from Woodbridge, Virginia, and I've lived in China for four years. I was traveling in Australia and New Zealand over the Chinese New Year when I heard that the coronavirus had raged through the city of Wuhan, about 500 miles west of where I live. I got repeated notices from the US Embassy that "recommended," but did not mandate, that Americans leave China. As my return date neared, many colleagues decided not to go back until the virus madness subsided. "Any place but China is safe," they said.

When I heard that everyone entering China must go through a mandatory, sealed quarantine I had a sense of doom. What if I needed to escape? How would I get food? Another expat who was in the middle of her own lockdown convinced me that it was manageable. "You're in your own home with all amenities and they bring you food and other supplies as needed," she said.