The current covid-19 situation in China

Ten months after the city of Wuhan was closed down, the world is still being ravaged by the covid-19 pandemic. As of today, there have been over 59 million cases and more than one million deaths. Ten months ago, no one could even imagine this scenario (except Taiwan). Rumours and conspiracy theories already abounded back then, but were confined to the situation in China. Do you remember that one of the rumours said that the virus was created by the US and spread in China to undermine the Chinese government? Oh my, if that had been true, it would be the perfect definition of “backfire”!

The situation in Spain, my home country, has been specially dire and, after a short reprieve in the summer, the second wave was well on its way (who thought it was a good idea to end lockdown when there were 80,000 active cases?). The same thing has happened in many other countries and the news are constantly reporting new record daily cases in one place and new lockdowns in another. However, there are barely any news about China on international media. Maybe because of this, many of my friends and relatives often ask me what’s the situation like in China. Do we have a lot of cases? Are we on lockdown again? And when they ask, I feel bad when I reply that… we barely have any cases, and we’ve been living a normal life since more or less April. We’ve even been able to travel (domestically) and celebrate Halloween, as I’ve written on this blog.

 

Yep, the country where everything started; where, according to the conspiracy theories at the beginning, the zombie apocalypse was unfolding, is pretty much covid free! The lockdown we had at the beginning of the year (and which wasn’t even compulsory outside of Hubei province) paid off. We stayed at home for about 6 weeks and then were able to slowly resume normal life. As of today, in Suzhou there are no restrictions whatsoever, although masks are still compulsory in public transportation and encouraged in other public places like malls. We can meet with all the friends we want, eat in restaurants and go to the playground. Here’s a link to an article in The Lancet that explains how China managed to control the virus.

Masked up on the subway.

 

Trying a new indoor playground last weekend.

 

But this doesn’t mean China is completely covid free. As we all know by now, this virus is a real sneaky bastard that likes surprising us with new outbreaks. In these past few months, there have been several outbreaks in China, but they have been quickly brought under control. When there are a couple of local transmissions within a city, everybody is tested and in some cases the city is closed. Quite a radical approach, but one that works here. The last scare was in Shanghai a few days ago: After 5 airport cargo workers were confirmed as positive, on Sunday night all workers from the cargo department were tested (over 17,000 people!).

We haven’t had any cases in Suzhou but several dozen people had to be tested last week after a man from Tianjin who had been here on November 6 was confirmed as positive on November 20. I’m not even sure he had the virus on November 6, but the people here who had contact with him have been tested anyway!

So, for now, we are living a normal life and enjoying our freedom, although we are very aware that the virus could stage a comeback at any time. I hope the strict measures taken in China pay off and we can remain like this until the rest of the world gets better!

PS. I hope I’m not jinxed anymore and a huge outbreak is not found in China right after I publish this post…