Tomorrow, Thursday 12th May begins a new phase of the lockdown in Shanghai. We are entering a 4 day ‘silent’ period. Essentially this means that there will be a super strict enforcement of the lockdown where no one sets foot outside their apartment and there can be no deliveries whatsoever.
This feels very much like putting the clocks back as we had been getting quite used to being able to walk in our compound. People scoot, cycle, jog and stroll around a small circuit that probably totals 600 steps. Others do yoga, HIIT or play badminton. I do my Taiji outside and even teach classes to my colleagues. It has become quite a social bonding experience to take the air with our immediate neighbors.
And deliveries have been a real life saver. Our local fruit seller has been diligent in supplying us with fruit options on a regular basis. Hugely expensive but nevertheless we have paid just to get fruit in this situation!
Deliveries have been stepping up recently and people are able to get burgers and fries delivered. Alcohol and even fresh flowers. It has begun to feel as though things were returning to more normal.
There are groups in each compound who do bulk buying and then share things out. We have no idea how to do that (except with Mr Deng, the fruit seller who posts things to us in English). You need exceptional mandarin to be able to navigate the apps and delivery requirements. But some class teachers have been very well supported by parents and they have very kindly shared out the surplus with those of us in central services.
I have been very fortunate to have been asked to read every day to a 5 year old who lives opposite in return for food. Her mother is a dab hand at acquiring goods and she can get anything I need. She has managed to secure oats, lamb, vegetables, bread and even much needed stock. We have truly lucked out!
Actually deliveries have proved to be a bit of a problem to the government. They suspect that the virus is being transmitted on packages. I heard of a driver who tested positive yesterday so all the people who had received packages were automatically put into a quarantine facility regardless of the fact that they never saw the guy. He just left the package at the gate and the person went down later to collect it. But not only that. If any of those customers who were taken away subsequently test positive then everyone who lives on their floor, the floor above and the floor below will also be taken into quarantine!!! This seems really harsh. We are just hoping that none of our neighbors order from any dodgy places…!
Friends in other compounds with positive cases during the last week went silent yesterday but we had 24 hours notice. Which meant that we have been in the fortunate position of having 24 hours notice. We teachers got together and did a panic buy of … grapes! Well. Fruit is all we know how to get. Other people here have gone all out with their contacts and the supplies have been rolling in. This is one of the guards (all the staff here are locked in with us) taking deliveries to the various towers.
Testing continues apace with tests daily and often twice a day. Yesterday it was 9pm and then again at 7am. We are getting REALLY good at doing them.
You have to respond quite quickly when calls for testing come. I heard of one lady who had tested positive and they called her at midnight then 3am to go to a quarantine facility. She was asleep and missed the messages. So she was labeled as ‘non-compliant’. You really don’t want that here! Our management send messages asking us to ‘please cooperate a lot’ which makes me laugh because either you cooperate or you don’t. It’s not something with degrees of.
Interestingly Dr Tadros, director of the WHO came out today saying that China’s approach is ‘unsustainable’. A video clip of his speech was circulating on our WeChat groups. I saw it but literally minutes later it was taken down by the government. Here’s a transcript which subsequently circulated and which they couldn’t take away quite so easily
The government did, however provide us with food ahead of going silent. Not bad this time
I have had further adventures with cooking and made tofu and mushroom soup today
The food parcel today was much better than the previous ones which contained all these bottles and I have no idea what is in them! I won’t be using any.
We very often play ‘Guess the vegetable’ here is an example of something green received by my friend. Can you guess what it is?
Word on the street is that the government wants to stamp covid out and get rid of it by the weekend!!! Cases are coming down
If we can do this final push and IF it works in eradicating covid then a reliable source says that Shanghai could open up completely on 27th May.
Watch this space….