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Mad Chaos: January 30, 2020 – Separating Coronavirus Fact From Fiction

An early evening nap after lunch was a good energizer on this eighth consecutive day of self-quarantine in Guangzhou (广州市) due to the coronavirus (冠状病毒).

I took care of our son to relieve my wife for a while.

Then I came onto the exercise bike for 30 minutes, fit with a mounted laptop tray to catch up on work.

In the bathroom later, I noticed the toilet was backed up.  It would prove a hassle to find a plumber during Spring Festival with the added complexity of bringing a stranger into our apartment during the coronavirus outbreak.  We have no idea if a plumber would wear a mask, their health status, or how many people they had seen who were potentially sick.

While my wife ordered takeaway for dinner, I mentioned, “I will go downstairs to buy groceries, and a plunger for the toilet.”

Grocery Shopping In The Local Guangzhou Markets

Equipped with a face mask, I came to the building elevators to come downstairs.

China Dusk Guangzhou

It was a curious scene when the elevator doors opened.  There were 5 people in the elevator, but they were all evenly spaced out.  Once the elevator doors closed behind me I heard everybody hold their breath.  Nobody in the elevator talked to each other.  It was as if nobody wanted to catch the coronavirus so they all collectively held their breath waiting to get out on level one.  That spun me out.

I came outside to the small markets behind our apartment block.   In there I said hello to the friendly shopkeepers, buying a very heavy, round watermelon for 55元, a few small mandarins for 10元 and apples for 10元.  Altogether I paid 75元 for the fruits.

The watermelon was very heavy so I quickly ducked back into the apartment upstairs.

As soon as I opened the door my wife said, “You were so quick!”  She was still on a video call to her mom in Taiwan (台湾).

I said, “I just went downstairs to the markets.  I am going to the bread shop to get cakes.”

She said, “Alright,” and continued to talk to her mom.

Separating Coronavirus Fact From Fiction

On my second trip I darted up to the bakery shop.  I purchased a big loaf of bread for 10元 and two mango puffs with cream inside – my favorite food in China.

I was fairly calm but observant outside in Guangzhou today.  Now that I am outside and see there really are not many people walking around on the streets, and I have an idea of the infection rates and their seriousness, and after talking to a few friends who are nurses and getting calm feedback from them, I don’t think that my family should worry too much.

We are certainly not panicking like most people around the world because we can see the facts on the ground and what is happening here in China, Guangzhou.

If this trend continues then my wife and I can take more frequent trips out of our apartment block.  We can take our son too if he needs fresh air.

My biggest concern is that if one of us gets sick with coronavirus then we have to self-isolate ourselves.

If I get sick with coronavirus that is okay, my wife can take care of our son.  If my wife gets sick then I have to take care of our son by myself.

But if our son gets sick, what will happen if he gets isolated and goes to the hospital?  We will both have to go to the hospital with him.  We might both get sick and quarantined too.

All of these scenarios do not play out very well, especially if my wife gets sick, because I do not have family in China who can help me.  As an Australian national, all my relatives are in Australia.

Discussing The Coronavirus Over Dinner

I returned home with food and a plunger, to see takeaway dinner already on the table. There was one, big plastic container with mixed rice and pineapple.  She had soup and noodles for herself.

While we ate, I fed the cream inside the cake to our son.  My wife mentioned that our son started to grow his fifth tooth inside his mouth, which is great.

We also discussed the latest coronavirus updates.

Today Australia confirmed its eighth coronavirus case.  Meanwhile, Christmas Island was being prepared for the Australian coronavirus evacuees from Wuhan.

Taiwan had put a ban on exporting N95 and surgical masks due to their own shortages.

The WeChat Moments (微信圈) of a contact also had some valuable information for foreigners in China, for the protection of the rights of foreigners in Wuhan during the closure of departure channels.

I had been curious to how visas would be affected while Wuhan is in lockdown.  Most foreigners in China need to leave every one to three months, in order to reenter on the same or a new visa in the future.

For example, I am on a family visa, which is a Chinese visa valid for two years, but a condition of the visa is that I still need to exit China every three months.  Even if I still have one year and nine months before my visa expires, if I remain in China for longer than three months in any period, I have overstayed my visa.

The official Chinese government information stated that while Wuhan is in lockdown, the number of days of illegal residence is calculated as the numbers of days of actual illegal residence minus the number of days of temporary closure of departure channels (or isolation for treatment).  If you needed to leave Wuhan a day after the lockdown, then essentially you have one day to leave China or renew your visa, otherwise you will have overstayed.

Son Plays With Plastic Boxes

With dinner over, I came to the living room to play with my son for a while.

A fun game we played was when he climbed into a large, plastic box.  I put the box on its small side for him to crawl into.  He turned around with his back onto the back of the box, as I roared forward and scared him from outside the box.  He acted really scared.  He loved that.

Then I lifted the box over my head and continued to scare him.  Soon I put his head into the box.  Now we were both inside the box together screaming at each other in a fun way.  That was the best fun for him.  He was having a great time being in this plastic box being able to see outside the box.

I came to sit down on the television room couch, turned the TV on for him, and we watched it together.  He is very obedient now.

Later, I was very surprised to see him push the plastic box all the way through the television room, around the corner, up to the entrance door, and then he turned the box around by dragging it around on the floor until he was able to turn back towards the television room to push the box into the television room.  He has a very accomplished smirk on his face when he does this.

Late into the evening I felt a bit groggy, but most of the little sniffles and problems in my throat had disappeared.  The cold and flu symptoms come and go but they do not get very severe.

Diary Of A Mad Chaos: Coronavirus In China
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