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Coronavirus Situation in China Improves Posted by on Apr 7, 2020 in News

It’s hard to believe, but it’s only been 3 months since the first reported cases of the novel coronavirus (新冠病毒 – xīn guān bìng dú) in Wuhan. Just over a month ago, I wrote this update on the coronavirus in China. Is it just me, or does it feel like it’s been way longer than that? There’s a lot of doom and gloom out there, especially with regards to the situation in the US. The good news is that we’re starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel as the coronavirus situation in China improves. I’d like to take this opportunity today to share a little uplifting news, as it’s something we all need at the moment!

Image by Vektor Kunst iXimus from Pixabay

I’ve been following the coronavirus situation in China pretty much since the beginning. Although I no longer live in China, I still teach English online to students there. My students are usually very excited about the Spring Festival (春节 – chūn jié), as they make plans to travel to visit family or go on vacation. Well, this year was a bit different…

Back in January as we got ready to enter the Year of the Rat (鼠年 – shǔ nián), the situation escalated very quickly. It didn’t take long for Wuhan – a city of 11 million people – to come to a total standstill. Other cities in Hubei province (湖北省 – hú běi shěng) soon followed as millions of people had to cancel their plans for the country’s most important holiday.

The quarantine measures put in place in China were quite drastic. Everything was shut down and people were ordered to stay home. Many buildings began checking the temperatures of everyone going in. My students told me how they couldn’t go outside to play at all and how their winter holiday was being extended indefinitely.

I felt bad for them and couldn’t imagine having to live under those circumstances. Well, a few weeks later, here I am in Colombia (哥伦比亚 – gē lún bǐ yǎ) which is in the midst of a 23-day nationwide lockdown. I’ve only left the apartment three times in the last 2.5 weeks to buy groceries and it’s now mandatory to wear a mask (口罩 – kǒu zhào) outside.

I’m also watching the situation closely as it escalates in my home country, especially in my state of Michigan (密西根州 – mì xī gēn). My mom is a nurse (护士 – hù shì) and my grandparents are in their 80s, so I’m obviously concerned for their well-being. As travel is completely shut down in and out of Colombia at the moment, I have no choice but to stay put and wait it out.

The good news is that I’ve been seeing positive developments out of China through the eyes of my students. Sure there are many questions out there about the accuracy of the numbers coming out of China. In a country with no free press that has kicked out foreign journalists and made citizen journalists disappear, we all have to take the data out of China with a grain of salt, or perhaps the whole shaker.

That being said, there’s no denying that the situation has improved dramatically in China. While the harsh quarantine measures were criticized by many, it’s clear that they have been effective in stopping the spread of the virus. All across the country, people are finally starting to come out again.

Many of my students are going back to school this week or next. Some have excitedly told me how they’ve been able to go to the park for the first time in months. It’s been a great morale booster for me seeing the glimmer of hope through their experience.

This past weekend was the country’s traditional Tomb Sweeping Festival (清明节 – qīng míng jié). Normally, people go to the cemetery to clean the tombs of loved ones. This year, China declared it a special day of mourning for all of the people who have died from the virus.

While the government is encouraging people to continue practicing social distancing (社交隔离 – shè jiāo gé lí), that hasn’t exactly worked out so well. Over the holiday weekend, the famed Yellow Mountain (黄山 – huáng shān) in Anhui was jam-packed with visitors, many of whom didn’t bother to wear a mask.

It’s understandable that people want to get outside after months of isolation. I’ve only been locked down for a little over two weeks and I’m already starting to get a little stir crazy. However it’s important for us all to realize that we probably won’t be able to go “back to normal” anytime soon.

Let’s hope that China can keep a resurgence of the virus from happening. I’ll be keeping myself informed of the situation as best I can and will share another update here on the blog next month. Here’s hoping it will be another positive one!

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


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