We’ve watched the developments with a lot of personal interest. Our youngest daughter has been teaching in Shenzhen, China for 5 years.
Shenzhen was not near the epicenter, but with the Chinese New Year celebration starting, the whole country faced a major crisis. The tradition is for families to return to their home towns – so Shenzhen, a city of 12.5 million people, was about to feel 2/3 empty. It is hard to imagine a billion people celebrating for a couple of weeks and maybe half of them going somewhere else. What a nightmare for spreading a contagious disease.
When they closed the schools, they set a date of somewhere around the end of February. My daughter and her boyfriend took a good decision – they went to the Philippines for a couple of weeks. They had to keep working via the internet – lots of video lessons and student and parent interactions. They actually worked really hard while holed up in a little cabana on the beach.
The closure dates have been extended twice… now until March 27, with the likelihood it will last even longer. When people say the Chinese are not responding enough… I don’t think we are looking at the reality of modern life in China. Imagine if the US , without any warning, had to shut down every school in the country… ban public meetings… close the movie theaters (a bigger deal in China than in the US)… for those of us who have been there, the idea of Tiananmen Square empty is amazing.
Anyway, my kid came home to the states but since they were fighting mild colds, they went to our home in Minnesota… we got the place operating with internet and got our car out of storage. They are spending about 3 weeks there – and working pretty hard. Now they have to do lessons online for a country that is 15 hours ahead in time. So… if you are told to attend a 3 PM meeting online – you will be on the internet at midnight.
When they got to the Philippines, they were grilled… and even at their hotel, every time they came in and out of their room they had their temperatures taken. They were detained for a while coming into the US – but having been in self-enforced isolation in the Philippines for 16 days… and with no symptoms… they were eventually allowed in.
They have not had any flu symptoms, but her boyfriend has had a chronic cough since a virus in December, so they went to Urgent Care for a quick checkup. They really didn’t realize what they were about to trigger – the question about “have you been out of the country” resulted in an immediate bum’s rush into a windowless room and people in hazmat suits. It did not matter that they had no fever… had not had any coronavirus symptoms for the past two months – the staff went into full panic mode.
Eventually the clinic got the health department on the phone and, after an intensive phone interview, they told the clinic to stand down and let the kids go.
The good side of all of this is our daughter has never gotten to visit us in Arizona – when she visits in summer we are back in Minnesota. In early March, she’s going to come to live here until China figures out how they will end the school year. They do feel bad about their dog – they have a rescue dog – imagine a beautiful German shepherd head on a corgi body! He’s in a nice kennel and they get videos every day… but it is had to be separated for so long.
About the made in China thing. We’d never heard of Shenzhen before out daughter moved there. Last week we got three Amazon deliveries… a cordless drill… a robot vacuum cleaner… and an electronic thing. All three had Shenzhen labels on them.
I don’t think I’ve got much to fear from getting ill with the coronavirus – but the global economy is potentially quite vulnerable!
OK… I’ve successfully hijacked this discussion and kept from having to accomplish anything productive this lovely Saturday morning…
back to your normal programming…