Am I jinxed?
I don’t know what’s going on with me lately, but it seems I only have to say something on the blog to make the situation I’m writing about change radically. If this is supposed to be a superpower, it’s seriously wrong!!
In my previous post, written 10 days ago, I said: “I don’t think there are any places in China that remain as high risk at this point; the last city in the north where there was an outbreak a few weeks ago was reclassified as low risk several days ago”. And what happened two days later? There was a new COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing. After almost two months without new infections, over 180 people have tested positive within the last week. All of these new cases are related to a huge market that supplies most supermarkets and restaurants in Beijing and, as everybody knows by now, traces of the virus were found in a wooden board used to chop imported salmon. I then read on western media that salmon had been removed from the shelves of physical and online supermarkets, but I’m not sure if this has only happened in Beiing, because I checked my online supermarket and there’s plenty of salmon at the usual price. And here I was hoping to stock on cheap salmon! Maybe it’s better this way, if I bought salmon these days my husband would probably get a heart attack. But a couple of days ago I started writing 三文鱼 (“salmon”) on Baidu, the Chinese Google, and the first suggestion to complete the sentence was 应无罪 (“is probably innocent”). Chinese people might have also been confused as to how a fish could contract the disease, because another suggestion that Baidu gives is “is salmon a mammal?”.
The truth is that health officials in China do not seriously consider at this point that salmon was the source of the outbreak, but simply that the virus must have been running around that market, only causing asymptomatic cases, for a good few weeks before it was discovered. Which shows how sneaky the virus is and how difficult is going to be to get rid of it until there’s a vaccine. And this outbreak is also very scary because it proves that the virus can reappear at any moment and place. If this has happened in a city that had been officially virus free for almost two months, what will happen in countries that are throwing all precautions to the wind and going back to normal while they have hundreds of new cases every day? I’m looking at you, Spain and US.
This new outbreak in Beijing will probably also delay even more the potential reopening of the Chinese borders. China closed its border to foreigners almost three months ago and we have no idea when it will be reopened. I’m becoming more and more pessimistic about this and at this point I doubt I will be able to visit Spain within this year, not even for Christmas. For now, the only sure thing is that there will not be new flights until October (there are currently very few international flights arriving to China) and the few flights currently available are outrageously expensive. My husband knows someone whose daughter was studying in the US and had to come back to China because she had graduated and her visa was expiring. She had to fork out 80,000 RMB (over 10,000 USD) for a one way flight to China!
The closed border issue is another example of my jinxed “superpower”. On March 23 I wrote a post on my Spanish blog about the quarantine that people coming from abroad had to do and I said that “China has not closed its borders or banned people coming from certain countries”. What happened 3 days later, on March 26? BAM! China announces that borders would be closed for all foreigners in 48 hours. Including long term residents, foreigners who work or attend school here, foreigners with family in China… So many people who live here have been stuck out of the country and unable to return for almost three months now. And for us, the foreigners who are in China now, if we leave then we cannot come back, of course, until who knows when.
I’ll have to be very careful with what I write from now on! I don’t want to jinx anything else!