China During COVID-19 by Randen Morisako M.A. ATC

As many of us in China were preparing for the Chinese New Year Holiday, the news started reporting on a new “Sars-like” Disease, originating in Wuhan, China. Covid-19 as they later called it spread quickly throughout China, causing many foreigners to flea China and wait out the disease. China had extended the official holiday 2 weeks and later closed the boarders to foreign nationals in March. For many foreigners who had left would find that the next 6-8 months would be filled with anxiety, anticipation, and uncertainty. It would take a special visa invitation letter, work documents located in China, multiple Covid tests (I took 5 in 3 weeks), health declaration forms, a 4 to 6 thousand dollar one way plane ticket, and a mandatory, and I mean mandatory, 14-day hotel quarantine in order to return to China.

It has been close to 90 days since the last local spread of Covid-19 in Beijing. With strict entry requirements, mandatory quarantine programs, close to 100% compliance for stay-at-home orders and mask wearing, China has recently seen some of the lowest rates of Covid-19. Many people still wear masks but there is no social distancing requirements and all stores, bars, and restaurants are open at regular capacity. As far as schools go, the International School of Beijing has been open for in school instruction since early August. We are down 10% enrollment and are required to wear masks while in buildings, except during PE and Sports. Yes, we do have sports! We started practices in mid-October and are hoping to compete against local schools by the end of November. Temperatures of students and staff are taken and reported twice a day and any symptom of fever requires an absence from school and possible medical consultation. There is no need for social distancing but all our policies are governed by the Chinese CDC and local education bureau.

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