The roadblocks around the village have already taken their toll on local business. All the restaurants are closed now. All the fruit shops are closed. Even most of the convenience stores are closed. The 24 hour 美宜佳 downstairs from my home is trucking on for now.
There are huge piles of Taobao deliveries outside the checkpoints, people need to leave the village and fish through the packages heaped up on the sidewalk to find whatever supplies they ordered. There were a few guys leaning dejectedly against the roadblock drinking beer. I suspect the cops didn't let them in.
Out front of my building there is a folding table where Meituan and Ele.me (food delivery) drivers are leaving food. Honestly, i haven't even bothered to open the app because given how few restaurants are open in my village i suspect the only places delivering right now will be KFC, McDonalds and so on.
Anyway, the other thing that happened yesterday is i got a call from a journalist in the UK after posting a quick update about "how coronavirus has affected you". I just rambled on a bit, same stuff you are reading here in my journal, and she thanked me and said she'd let me know if they printed anything.
But you'll never guess what happened next!
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What happened next is the British Foreign Office basically said to all Brits in the country "get out while you still can". I didn't even have time to read the news, because it came out at like 9pm local time and i was cooking dinner. I got a call back from the journalist who let me know and i almost dropped my phone in the wok. I guess that's what she was going for. After i composed myself i was like "yeah, actually, i'll probably just stay here..." I mean, what else am i going to do? Evacuate and then i'm stuck in quarantine for weeks, then i'm released and into a country with no house, no family, no bank account, no nothing.
Anyway, the interesting thing was that it showed a bit of how the sausage is made, news-wise. I guess they were gathering testimonials for a fluff human interest story about expats in China, but then Raab dropped that bomb and i can just imagine some editor posting 🚨 alert emojis in the Slack channel and telling all the junior reporters to call everyone back and get their immediate reactions. "Get me shock, panic, anything juicy!"
So, anyway, you can read my quote over on Stay or go? Britons in China weigh up coronavirus risks. Apparently it also made the print edition so i am vaguely famous. Get yer copies while you can, Brits.
I thought African students stranded in coronavirus heartland plead with embassies had better quotes, though. The person saying "we have been forced to eat one meal a day" - i totally feel that pain and i am doing the same thing. Even though there is still food in the shops, i am very wary of the fact that going out is fraught. One temperature scan over the limit and i'll be packed off to the hospital, where if i wasn't sick before i'll definitely be sick after.
Anyway. Life is weird right now.
Today i just stayed home and worked. It could've been a work from home day like any other.
Except, you know, the government vehicles going past with a loudspeaker telling everyone to stay inside and wear masks. It's like something out of a movie.