East vs West

Mad Chaos: February 2, 2020 – Coronavirus Outbreak Fact From Fiction

Today, on our eleventh consecutive day of self-quarantine in Guangzhou (广州市) due to the coronavirus (冠状病毒), I woke up to greet my son in the living room.

I scooped his little drum off of the floor and in a loud voice, sang various tunes using words familiar to him.  He jumped around and rocked his body.  We had a lot of fun.

Calling Scoot Airlines For Ticket Refund Information

During this time I called Scoot airlines in Singapore (新加坡).  I was on hold for more than 60 minutes on their overseas Singapore number trying to get an operator.  I needed to ask whether I had been refunded for my 3 airplane tickets from China through Singapore to Australia.

Finally someone answered.  I explained my situation.  However, the lady said, “Sorry, but I can’t give you refund information.  I am going to have to escalate this.  Someone will call you back within 24 hours.”

Scoot airlines promised that the refund would be issued within 24 hours.  However, I have waited 2 days for the automated refund to come through with no funds having landed in my bank account yet.

The inconvenience is that while I wait for the Scoot airlines refund money to purchase another airplane ticket, I do not know how long my bank will take to to accept the refund.  I can see tickets for flights to Australia on March 1, 2020 cost $275AUD but for every day I wait for the Scoot airlines refund to be returned, the general airplane ticket prices increase.

Coronavirus Outbreak News Reports

Once finished with the phone call to Scoot airlines, I used the VPN to read news reports.  There are now 304 reported coronavirus-related deaths in China and one new death in the Philippines.

This coronavirus has taken on international dimensions.  The Philippines is one possible country where my new airplane route may transit through.

My wife and I checked the travel advice to see what countries mainland Chinese are allowed to travel to and transit through.  Malaysia is one country that allows flight transfers from mainland China.  However, the more of an international concern that this novel coronavirus becomes, the less options we have for travel.  That worries me.

I am worried we could purchase three airplane tickets to transit through a third country like Malaysia or the Philippines, only for the country to impose a new ban on mainland Chinese in the next few weeks.  That would leave our money in limbo a second time while we wait for another refund.

I am bothered because I have already waited two days for Scoot airlines to provide a cash refund.  Further delays would be an immense hassle, because each new flight cancellation means we would remain trapped for an indefinite period of time under self-quarantine in our apartment in Guangzhou, with a lease due to expire in March 2020, and my mandatory visa requirement to leave China every three months also due in March 2020..

The Reality In China Versus International News Reports

Two hours into my play-time with my son I peered out the window to the courtyard across the main road where the 7/11 convenience store is.

Yesterday I only saw 1-2 people sitting down on benches.  Today I saw half a dozen people seated on benches, as well as a few people walking around with face masks.  One day made a difference.

I mentioned to my wife, “I am going to go down the street to get coffees.  I want to see what the situation in public is like.”

She said, “Okay.”

“When I look out the window I can already see more people walking around outside,” I mentioned.

She said, “That is because today is the official start of work back from the Chinese Spring Festival holidays.”

Coffee Run In Rock Square

Soon, I donned a mask, and came outside.  I saw a few more people compared to yesterday when I walked up the main road.  Yesterday I only saw 1-2 people or small groups of people walking along the street.  I probably would not have seen more than 50 people in my whole 1-kilometer meter trip.

Now, I see tens of people walking around on the streets, with face masks still ubiquitous.   Most people are dressed up in work uniforms.

Life in China is slowly trickling back to normal.

In Rock Square I quickly purchase a cappuccino from Costa Coffee.  Then I walked back towards my apartment block.

Distant Sunset In Guangzhou

This saunter outside today reaffirmed in my mind that there has been too much hysteria in China around the novel coronavirus.  Yes, a lot of people are getting sick, but the ratio of people who fall sick and then die is still fairly low.

in terms of what level I should personally be scared of contracting this coronavirus, it is fairly low.  I am in China, Guangzhou, but I should not fear the unlikelihood that I will be the person who comes into contact with that one individual in our district infected with the coronavirus.

I have to reasonably assume that I could instead get infected by the flu, influenza, or some other bug that has been going around China.  Therefore, I am not as fearful these days.  Practice good, sanitary hygiene, yes, but do not be consumed by panic.

Diary Of A Mad Chaos: Coronavirus In China
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