While we're just getting to grips with self-isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic, across the world in China – where many people have been in semi-isolation for two months – normal life is very slowly starting to return.
Ten days ago, Emory Babb, who has lived in Beijing for three years, works in marketing and has been in semi-isolation (the city has not been in enforced lockdown) since 24th January, sent a message, seen by Red, to friends in the UK.
He wanted to encourage them to stay positive and shared some handy tips for isolating and social distancing to stop the spread of Covid-19. This was before Boris Johnson brought in stricter government rules to limit social contact in the UK.
'Things are going well here,' Emory wrote. 'Most new infections are from overseas, so all international travellers, including Chinese travellers, face a mandatory 14-day quarantine when they return to Beijing. Otherwise, for the rest of us, life is slowly getting back to normal.'
He went on to say that social distancing has been 'a clear success' in the city, urging friends to wash their hands, keep their distance from others and not touch their faces on 'supply runs' adding 'this stuff only works if we work together.' He also recommended getting 'some glasses with blue-light protection because your screen time will rocket.'
Red spoke to Emory this week and asked him to update us on life in Beijing now. His reply was a source of comfort, bringing a smile to our faces and hopefully proves that what we're going through at the moment won't last forever:
'Last night a friend told me how excited he was to see a traffic jam in the city centre again,' he said. 'It's spring and the cherry trees are blossoming, so people are going to parks and the streets are getting progressively more busy.
'However, as more cases come from overseas there is some suspicion of foreigners, and intercity and international travel is still far from normalised. Currently, all people entering Beijing are subject to a 14-day government administered quarantine in a hotel if asymptomatic and in a medical facility if symptomatic, or were seated near a symptomatic or diagnosed case on their transport. People are mostly still working from home, but more are getting back to work with stricter protective measures regarding sickness and cleanliness.'
And Emory's top tips for staying busy in isolation? 'Having a routine, staying active, and having regular projects or goals has been vital,' he says. 'My parents both run small businesses, so I've been able to use this time to help them with strategy and copy. I've reconnected with old friends I haven't talked to in years, and I've kept up my Chinese studies and some market research for my new job.
'Those activities provide some meaning and direction to my days, but the vast majority of my time is spent watching TV (I finished Westworld and Breaking Bad, among many others), and playing games online with my girlfriend and other friends.'
The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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