Tag Archives: Corona Virus

Corona Virus Updates (Timeline) from an Expat's Point of View

16 Feb

There is a lot of disinformation out there, so here is a day-by-day series of updates from an Expat who works in China and is currently a roaming nomad in Asia.

Our Situation

January 22 – My family left China anticipating a two week vacation – we each packed one suitcase.

January 22 (later that day) – Faculty was warned not to visit Wuhan or ‘epidemic areas’ for the holiday. The office began gathering information about where people were and travel plans.

January 27 – The school announced it would be delaying Spring semester ‘until further notice’. Faculty are warned to delay their return to China if possible. We are informed we will be paid in February, but March is uncertain as the staff are delaying return to the office.

January 29 – China Aviation Authorities issue a notice that flights booked before January 28th shall be refunded for free if passengers apply before departure. It’s not clear whether these statements include all airlines or just domestic airlines.

CTrip announces it is refunding free of charge all flights within Mainland China booked before 28 January 2020. It’s not clear whether these statements include international flights as well.

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January 29 – At the advice of the employer and under the new flight exemptions, we request to delay our return flights (China Southern, international flight into China) until Feb. 18th. CTrip online chat had more than 1000+ people waiting in line – we emailed them instead. Response was within 48 hours – changed for free. We book a new hotel (even cheap, it’s pricey on our budget)– we are now officially nomadic.

January 30 – All returning faculty are expected to undergo 14 days of self-isolation when returning.

January 30 (later in day) – Faculty and international students are asked not to return for ‘the near future’ until further notified. All returnees with or without symptoms must be isolated.

January 31 – the school is officially closed and under lock-down. All people entering must undergo a health check, register at the gate, and bring ID.

February 1 – Please inform the employer of the exact number of masks, disinfectant fluid, and gloves, and protective suits you need.

February 4 – Reaffirm that faculty should not return until further notice.

February 4 (later in day) – Faculty ‘shall not return to school in advance before the first-level response of major public health emergencies is cancelled’. Those who do return must have a heath checkup, must inform the employer 2 weeks in advance, and must self-isolate for 14 days. Psychological counseling is being offered to help foreign staff ‘isolate and channel their psychological anxiety, panic, and other emotions’

February 5 – ‘Don’t return.’

February 6 – It’s better not to return. Many businesses are closed and shopping is difficult. You will be required to take your temperature, but thermometers are difficult to find and expensive. To buy thermometer and medicine, you need to provide your ID.

February 7 – Do not return until further notice. . . .

February 8 – School will resume with online courses likely around February 24. Faculty should not return until further notice.

February 12 – CTrip changes our flight from Feb. 18th to Feb. 20th. After concerning rumors about the spread of the virus, availability of supplies, etc. we decide to reconsider our return again. 650+ people in line on CTrip Chat, I waited more than 5 hours to talk to someone. Gave up.

February 13 – All returning teachers much inform the hiring department of their itinerary for the past 2 weeks. Teachers will be picked up at the airport and driven immediately to the hospital and then to housing for quarantine.

February 15 – The community service center announced all people must be quarantined for 14 days and are not allowed to leaving the house for any reason at all. For some, food (enough for 2 weeks) must be purchased in advance. For others, ‘vegetables‘ will be provided by service people. You must report to officials your temperature twice daily. Anyone from or laying over in Guangzhou, Hubei, Zhejiang, and Henan will be quarantined elsewhere and are not allowed on housing site.

February 15 – We formally cancel our flights back to China, and prepare to hunker down for the duration. 42 people in line on CTrip chat. Flight cancellation immediately processed – refund due within 2 weeks according to agent.

February 16 – The suits, gloves, masks, etc that were requested on Feb. 1 have still not been delivered.

February 17 – I again book a new, cheaper hotel . . . money is getting VERY tight (less than $20 per day left). Supplies starting to run out – had to buy new deodorant. Good news – I’m losing weight from stress 🤣 Still no new information about March salaries — informed there will be more information hopefully on Feb. 19th. . . .

CoronaVirus and the Plight of the Expats

8 Feb

If you have friends or family who are expats stuck in the middle of the virus situation right now, please reach out. They’re not okay.

The news is filled with stories about the corona virus currently hitting China and other countries around the world.

What many people aren’t aware of is the plight of the expats who live and work in China. There are an estimated 600,000+ expats (1) and their families living in China, many of whom live in the harder hit city areas like Shanghai and Beijing.

Then there are the tourists, students, and other temporary visitors who got caught up in the situation. Not to mention the concerned relatives and friends at home.

china expat population
Expats in China by region – Sampi.co (2018)

So today, we wanted to give you a little insight into the concerns and issues facing your friends and family abroad, using our own situation a bit as an example.

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