In times of coronavirus… trust your neighbour

The coronavirus outbreak has entered a new phase as it spreads all over the world. Cases in China are becoming less and less, with the official figures being 39916 current infections, 2791 deaths and 36254 cured as of today. South Korea and Italy are now two of the most affected countries and, interestingly, I haven’t heard yet of flight cancellations to those countries, and some places who were quick to ban the entry of people who had been in China and recommended their citizens not to come here think there is no need to take the same measures for South Korea and Italy. Meanwhile, here in China, we are still basically isolated even though there are less and less cases every day. Suzhou, for example, has not had any new cases in the last 10 days. But most airlines are not flying to and from Shanghai. Some of them, like Iberia, the Spanish carrier, have cancelled their Chinese routes until the end of April, but haven’t done the same for Italy or Japan. Does anyone want a ration of double standards?

The outbreak and the subsequent lockdown and quarantine have taken a huge toll on the Chinese economy, and it seems the virus will now continue rampaging the rest of the world, thanks to widespread panic. Up until last week everything was fine, but now markets are in free fall. Here’s the crisis we were waiting for! Some people think China is not reporting true numbers of new infections to avoid discouraging people to go back to work. My husband thinks Japan is not reporting their cases because they don’t want to have to cancel the Olympics and lose billions. A couple of days ago I read on the Facebook of a acquitance that lives in Japan that Korea had already tested 40000 people to check if they had the virus, while Japan had only tested 900.

But enough of speculation and retelling of news you already know. Today I wanted to tell you about a small aspect of our lives that has also changed because of the coronavirus: receiving parcels. Before the outbreak, delivery guys would either bring your parcel home or store it inside special delivery lockers inside the residential compound and text you a password to open the locker. Now, however, because compound restrict the entrance of anyone who doesn’t live there, delivery guys cannot enter and have to leave their parcels at the gate. And the same for delivered meals! You might think that it’s not a big deal to allow a delivery guy to enter, but the thing is that residential compounds here are HUGE (mine must house about 5000 people, at least) and people order many things online so, during normal times, the compound is always swarming with delivery guys coming and going. But now, to avoid personal interaction and minimize the chances of infection, our compound arranged these shelves by the main gate:

One for parcels…

… and one for meals and groceries. Do note the bright blue sky. According to this analysis, China’s CO2 emissions have been reduced by 25% during the outbreak.


The thing with these shelves is that the delivery guys leave the things there and leave, so it could happen that someone takes your parcel, be it by mistake or intentionally. In fact, when I went to pick mine, no one asked me anything or checked that I was getting the correct one (and it had been there for a few hours and no one took it either). So they must trust the honesty and integrity of all the people that live here!

However, for some reason not all courier companies leave parcels in these shelves. No idea how it works. Another day I had to pick another parcel (yes, I’ve resumed my Taobao activity after a dry spell) and this time I was told to go outside the gate, and I saw this:

Parcels left on the sidewalk… but at least the delivery guys were watching over them.