Deaths rise as precautions tighten
With fears heightening around the Coronavirus, unsubstantiated sinophobia (bearing echos of the racism clear across Canada during the SARS epidemic) on the rise, and events across the globe being disrupted, including Paralympic testing tournaments, tech conventions, and travel plans, those on the ground are feeling a distinct sense of pressure
One University of Regina alumnus – who has been granted anonymity – currently living in Southern China, says that the current situation on the ground is as unclear as it is for the outside world.
“It is a confusing situation, to say the least, because China seems to be introducing new legislation every day. So, one day something’s okay to do, and then the next day it’s not okay.”
“At the beginning people were allowed to roam around more freely, but now it’s basically illegal to gather in any large groups.”
Places where many people are expected to gather, such as schools and factories, have been especially disrupted. The person we spoke to has an apartment with a curfew, a condition that many areas, including whole cities, have implemented, along with roadside stops and travel clearance rules. This is in addition, in this person’s area, to a mandatory fourteen-day quarantine for those who leave the local area and then return.
“Basically, anybody who has been living in China who travels anywhere has now been getting extra checks or balance, if you will. It doesn’t matter if you’re Chinese or you’re foreign.”
Despite the restrictions, of the three eating establishments stiill available in the student’s area, two are McDonald’s and Burger King (there’s a comment on capitalism in there somewhere).
For the University of Regina graduate one challenge has been their family’s concerns.
“My family’s reaction, I’m sure, is just as you would expect it. ‘Come home! Here’s the money for a flight, let us book you a ticket!’ And now I told them, ‘Well, it’s too fucking late. I’m sorry.’ Now I can’t actually get home without taking six layovers in different countries and paying like five thousand dollars for a ticket. And I said, ‘I have two cats, I have my significant other type person here, so what do you expect me to do?’ I check in with them as much as possible.”
One way the apartment complex of the person we spoke to is handling those in quarantine is placing a taped strip over their door. Authorities then come back to check if those inside have exited by inspecting the tape. According to the person we spoke to, if they are found to have exited when they were not supposed to, they find themselves hauled away.
According to the graduate there are two distinct groups of people when it comes to fear of the virus.
“There are two parties right now, there are people who are just not worried at all, I guess I would say they’re not worried enough; and then there are the people who are too worried, and like, fearmongering. There are very few people falling in the middle.”
“People do need to worry, but they don’t need to fearmonger, either.”