View from China

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Our motoring journalist, Steve has been living in Shanghai during the Coronavirus crisis and we asked him to give us a little insight into life with the COVID-19 pandemic.

For many in China, life is slowly returning to normal, giving other countries a glimpse of what might await them once the worst of the epidemic has passed.


After about two months of strict restrictions on freedom of movement, life in Shanghai is returning to normal.
People are still wearing face masks; supermarkets, malls and residential blocks still take your temperature at the entrance; and to travel on the metro system you still need to scan a QR code to show that you’re not supposed to be in quarantine. But most of the shops, bars and restaurants that closed have re-opened, the streets are a lot busier now, and people are starting to socialise again.


Of course, it’s a completely different culture compared to Western countries. People are used to being told what to do. But it’s clear that when everyone takes on board what’s necessary it’s actually not that bad. I’ve not really felt in danger of catching the virus. I’ve enjoyed the reduction in air pollution too, especially now we’ve started going out on our bicycles again.


It doesn’t take long to get into a routine of carrying a bottle of hand sanitizer around with you, finding a different way to greet people, and following the other common sense precautions that have been widely publicised.
It can get a little claustrophobic with everybody home all day, but we’ve been able to alleviate the boredom that inevitably sets in from time to time. We’ve watched a lot of TV shows and films, while trying not to obsess over the rolling TV news coverage. We’ve played a lot of board games and we’ve done a few odd jobs around the house that we’d been putting off for ages. We’ve ordered more takeaway deliveries than we usually do as well! We’ve also made more of an effort to keep in touch with family and friends. The Zoom app has been a useful tool for getting people in multiple locations together at the same time. So while it hasn’t exactly been easy, it hasn’t been unmanageable either – but a positive attitude is essential.