Shanghai in the time of plague

Thinking about writing this post I couldn’t get out from my head a picture-meme of Kermit the Frog. It’s like this. In the first picture Kermit is laughing jeeringly, caption says: Europe two weeks ago. In the second picture Kermit biting his lips, not laughing anymore and the caption says: Europe now. So what can I say. Nobody in Europe is laughing now, maybe except the UK (for now). The virus leaked from China and is forcing people to implement special safety measures, sit on their butts and spend time with their families. What for some is probably the first opportunity to get to know their own relatives closer.

I’m one month late with the post when the news from China were taken as a quirk so that nobody from the ‘elites’ of the Western World didn’t want to consider the perspective of the virus spreading through European countries seriously. But here it is. The fight and peak of the epidemic is still ahead but there’s hope that the epidemic will be stifled, after all China managed to do so. What we have to admit is that Chinese government after the attempts of concealing the virus existence, it really took things seriously. Chinese society trained by years of collective responsibility, properly complied with the new rules imposed by the state. Apogee of the epidemic has passed but the measures will last for a long time. What kind of measures? How did country so big and populous managed to stifle spread of the disease? What did life in Shanghai look like during the outbreak? Have a look below at a portion of pics and a bunch of information.

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Temperature check.

Let’s start from the fact that they will check your temperature. Everywhere and all the time. Does’t matter if it’s entrance to residential area, mall, supermarket or any place where large number of people attend. There is always a person with a thermometer and one by one checks everyone’s temperature. In some places they run a record book where they fill out basic details. If it turns out you stayed at a place together with someone who contracted the virus it will be easier to track you down. Registrations and records are being run even now, when everything is getting back to normal.

coronavirus in China
Temperature check. Newcomers please register.

Every time upon leaving our residential estate we receive a pass which we have to show upon entering. Only one gate remains open so flow of people is under control.

Which brings us to another thing which is of course limiting movement of population and possibilities of gathering higher number of people in one place. So it means all educational units, restaurants, parks etc.are closed. It was very strict during the peak of the outbreak, now the old routines are coming back but before majority of Shanghai residents didn’t work at all. Facilities which have to remain open have limited number of exits and entrances.

Below, safety corridor to a hospital entrance.

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Temporary hospital test-tent entrance.
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Main hospital gate shut down.

Chinese society, what we know from history, shows strong power to unite and ability to collectively work for the good of the whole whether this ‘good’ is understood well or wrong for which we also saw examples in history. Anyway, thanks to their cultural features, China, when required will stand in tight formation against common enemy, in this case corona virus ( by the way, I’m totally picturing this beautiful propaganda poster of society fighting the virus). Therefore if the state says everybody must wear face masks, everybody will. Whoever shall break out from it will be punished. Probably. Honestly, I have never had opportunity to witness.

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Masks, no exceptions.
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Please wear your mask in public.
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Street sweeper with mask.

We are also being reminded constantly about wearing masks by voice recordings in places where more people attend. Imagine yourself in a park or a square where every few dozens of meters there’s a speaker playing the same message: Dear visitors! For your and others’ safety please wear masks.- and it goes on a loop.

I have read recently that panic or general fear of new disease is an evolutionary tool increasing our survival chances. Despite certain voices that the virus for majority isn’t dangerous at all and symptoms are mild, many of us are really afraid and don’t want to expose for unnecessary risk. this mechanism works perfectly in China. Just look at pictures from deserted streets around Chinese cities where the traffic ceased.

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Streets almost empty despite the beautiful weather.
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Almost empty subway escalator
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Lone guard
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Safety above all.

What did it look like in supermarkets?

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Shopping during the outbreak.
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Shopping during the outbreak.

And one reflection in the end. I wonder how this whole coronavirus experience will influence hygienic awareness in countries like China. We can easily assume that the standards are far away from the western ones, after all the virus appeared in the wet market in Wuhan probably where standards of hygiene were just science fiction. I would like to believe, as a person who lives and eats out quite often that most of people comply with the basic rules of hygiene and at least wash their hands after visiting toilets. unfortunately, according to my observations, not quite.

Below one of those who know not to touch too much.

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Man opens shop curtain with only one finger.

Sorry about all mistakes. I have been writing in a rush 😉

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