Video produced by Kate Murphy
Even though he’s not permitted to take a stroll down the hallway of his own apartment building, Patrick, an American journalist in Beijing, is trying to keep a positive outlook on life — and look forward to the end of his quarantine.
When Patrick, an American citizen who asked to be identified only by his first name, returned to Beijing on March 15 from the U.S., he was ordered to stay in his apartment for 14 days. “Right now, [I’m] keeping my spirits up and enjoying it. I hope to be roaming outside freely and without a face mask very soon.”
Patrick told Yahoo News that he isn’t even allowed to open the door to his apartment. In an interview conducted virtually, he pointed at the door and said wryly, “If you’re wondering about this door, the answer is no. I’m not allowed to open it or go outside into the hallway or outside the building for a full two weeks.”
Asked if the isolation is difficult, Patrick said it could be worse. “I do have the luxury of spending this time in an apartment rather than a government-designated hotel,” he said. His arrival on March 15 was fortunate, he said, “because the day after we arrived, the government began requiring all inbound travelers to quarantine at designated hotels — not at home.”
As of last week, inbound passengers to China have been confined to hotels near the airport at which they arrive. Despite the worldwide drop in air travel, people are still arriving in droves. Last week over the course of just a little over six days, more than 30,000 people flew into Beijing Capital International Airport.
Patrick is relying on grocery and restaurant deliveries for food. Being unable to leave even for exercise is hard, but he agrees with the strict measures since they seem to be working. “I feel like the reaction by the Beijing government has been very good. It’s been very rapid and thorough, and without it we wouldn’t see the diminished number of cases that we’ve been seeing locally.”
Last Thursday marked the first day in China since the outbreak of the pandemic with no new domestic COVID-19 cases, only “import” cases from travelers coming from abroad. The government is now doubling down on quarantine regulations to avoid a second round of infections.
This week, the government is requiring that all international arrivals into the country enter into mass quarantine at designated facilities.
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