02 Apr Covid-19 – EN
Given the recurring theme and the situation, the first theme we will face in this living room will be on Covid-19 and the experience of one of our collaborators Xu, in Shanghai. Last November, 2019, Polobio was in Shanghai for an international food fair in the city. During this work experience, our journey crossed with that of Xu, our translator for the event. Spending hours of the fair together, we pleasantly discovered that Xu, in addition to being very intelligent, is also an extremely human person and always close to us. During these moments, first in China and then with us in Italy, during our emergencies, we have always remained in contact, for friendship and to keep us company in the most isolated moments of the quarantine, which has now ended.
Please do not read this interview with a cynical eye, but rather with the awareness that they too are survivors of this virus, like us. For reasons of confidentiality, we were unable to insert Xu’s video, below are his words.
Everything will pass soon if we respect the rules. All of China is with you and with the whole world.
D: “Hi Xu, thanks for your time. Let’s start with a few questions: When did Covid-19 start in China? “
X: “Hi, thank you very much to you. I hope this interview can be useful. I heard about this virus (it didn’t have an official name at the time) for the first time, on January 21st. I remember this date well because I was in the hospital for a visit to my grandfather, unfortunately hospitalized. I have heard nurses talking about this new virus, which was already quite common in Wuhan city. They said this virus was an unknown but stronger type of H1N1. I did not know how many people were infected, but since the news came from Wuhan, 800 + km away, to Shanghai, it means that there were already several serious cases.
On January 23, the news about Wuhan’s Lock-down was announced in the press, on social media and (we don’t have Facebook, Instagram or Youtube), we read that many people chose to leave the city before Lock-down to avoid possible contagion. From that day on, Shanghai citizens understood the severity of the virus and starting the desperate run to pharmacies to buy masks and 75% alcohol, to go to the supermarket to buy disinfectant and antibacterial liquid for hand washing. At the beginning I didn’t go to buy these things, because I thought, like everyone else, that this virus would not come to us in Shanghai. Two days later, these products were finished everywhere and I have not been able to find them for almost two months. Like me, thousands of families.
The epidemic situation worsened rapidly in a few days from mid-January, every morning when there was news on television, the epidemic continued to rise by two or three thousand confirmed new cases. The darkest day for all of us was February 13, 2020: 15155 new cases, a total of 59885 confirmed cases and 16067 suspect cases.
The press says Covid-19 had existed since December 2019, the source is still not approved, but experts believe it was born long before December, unfortunately, I don’t think there will be any chance of knowing. ”
Q: “Do you have any advice that you feel like giving to those in full quarantine?”
X: “As a Shanghai medical expert said to citizens,” You are not alone at home, but you are a soldier fighting the virus. How? Not showing up. Do you feel bored at home? Certainly. But think that even the virus will get bored, until it disappears, if it can no longer find you and hurt you. ”
We can do many things during our “passive war”: being with your family, hearing your relatives and friends, cleaning the house, reading books, watching movies, studying something, cooking new dishes, doing gymnastics, arranging old ones photos that give you a smile with all their memories. We can do anything we wanted to do long ago but not done yet with the excuse of our busy lives. Don’t waste time being afraid, be aware and take advantage of this period to improve. ”
D: “Thanks a lot Xu for your words. How do you live your city or China finished your quarantine? “
X: “I live in Shanghai, so I speak mainly of Shanghai, but I think more or less the other cities are similar to mine. People still wear masks to protect themselves when they are away from home. 90% of public places are reopened , I take museum as an example: there is a limited number of visitors for each day and online admission must be booked in advance. On the other hand, the cinemas are not yet open since it is a very closed place with little ventilation, so the government has decided to wait a little longer. Schools are not reopened for child safety.
Most restaurants have reopened, but there are far fewer people than before the Virus and before entering the restaurants, you are asked to wash your hands with the sanitizing gel at the entrance and have your temperature measured.
Almost all of them have returned to the office where even the employees always wear a mask to protect themselves and protect others from possible infection.
From January until today, we haven’t used air conditioning at home, to help its consumption in public places, where we need as much ventilation and air circulation as possible.
The Chinese population is less worried but still attentive enough. Although local cases are under control (there are cases imported from other countries every day) there are 1000+ asymptomatic cases, and the global situation is worsening, surely this virus will not disappear in a few days, unfortunately.
Life has not returned as before, but much better: we hope that the virus will disappear as soon as possible and that it will remain under control in the world, with the hope that the birth of the vaccine will take place in a short time. ”
D: “I understand only now how hard it can be, now that I live it. How did you experience the Lock-down and your quarantine? “
X: “I heard the word Lock-down for the first time on January 23, 2020, the first city to implement it was Wuhan, the Chinese Covid-19 outbreak; days later the province of Hubei and slowly many other cities and towns also decided to follow Whuan’s example. Lockdown means no one could go out or enter this city or town. It was the most direct way of limiting the flow of people between cities, which helped a lot in limiting the spread of the virus.
Most public places were closed, only supermarkets, pharmacies and hospitals remained open.
On TV we saw Wuhan as an empty city, without people and without life, Shanghai, the number one metropolis in China, was also deserted at that time.
I only left home once every 15 days to buy what I needed to survive, I saw a few people on the street, all with masks, some even with protective glasses, each protected themself as best they could.
Shanghai did not complete Lock-down: however, it restricted travel between the departments of the city as much as possible, each car and each one to enter, had to declare where they came from and government officials decided if they could enter or if these people had to do two weeks of mandatory quarantine. ”
Q: “How do you get through these moments? We are currently in a state of quarantine and sometimes find it wearing out. “
X: “In Wuhan and the Hubei provincial, these were really difficult moments, because there were no beds in the hospital, doctors, nurses, protective clothes, masks, breathing machines, ECMO machines, almost everything. The government has sent hundreds of doctors and nurses to Whuan city, factories produce masks and disinfectant liquid day and night, temporary hospitals are built in a few days, other cities have shipped professional materials and machines, food, clothing etc. Many countries have sent medical materials to China to help us, and we will never forget it. We felt lonely, but we weren’t.
Speaking of everyday life, apart from the difficulty of finding disinfectants and masks, it wasn’t a big problem: supermarkets, hospitals and pharmacies were still open.
In China, online shopping is widely used and, during this period, we ordered almost everything online; to avoid direct contact between the Buyer and those who brought the goods to us, at each entrance of each building, we had installed a shelf, so the courier could leave the package on the shelf and call the supplier. Only once the delivery man got out of the gate, we could go downstairs and take our package. ”
D: “Xu, we always wondered how China, a nation with a population of one and a half billion inhabitants, managed to isolate and stop the contagion of Covid-19 without stopping: in this regard I would like to ask you if you find differences of action (if any) between China and other countries during the epidemic, in order to improve or be aware of it “
X: “Everyone in China is wearing masks. We are often derided for this particular, for our fear of contagions and bacteria. We are very organized. Each neighborhood has a commission to manage and administer neighborhood residents (the population of my neighborhood is almost a million). The members of the commission together with the volunteers sent by the government, have formed blocks for each neighborhood and control who enters and who exits. Each resident has an entrance card, which has become the only way to move. Instead, those who do not have a card must declare themselves at the entrance and answer the questions “where did you come from”, “you have visited places at risk in the last two weeks”. So the commission decides if you can enter or have to quarantine. This way is very useful to find people of “potential risk” and ask them to make a mandatory quarantine.
In addition, we have created an APPLICATION that monitors where you have been in the last few weeks, gives you green, yellow or red code, based on your movements. To enter public places, such as in a hospital or shopping center, you must demonstrate your code that the application provides you. Only people with a green code can enter to ensure maximum security in these places.
Measuring the temperature is mandatory and it happens many times a day: before entering the neighborhood, parking, office, bank, park. This habit is certainly a strong hand for us: we are many and where the government cannot help, the citizen protects himself, measuring the fever of every person who enters a public place. ”
D: “We all hope Xu, from the heart. Thanks for this interview and for giving us your experience, hoping to be able to treasure it even in the darkest moments. We say goodbye here, good return to the world and #staysafe. “
X: “Thank you very much for the opportunity, I would like to say to the Italians:
Stay cautious, stay positive and stay safe! – be cautious, positive and safe.
Everything will pass soon if we respect the rules. All of China is with you and with the whole world. COME ON ITALY! “