The Twenty-fifth Day: 16 April 2020

The Twenty-fifth Day: 16 April 2020 (103,093 confirmed infected, 13,729 died, in total)

"The current measures must remain in place for at least the next three weeks." – Dominic Raab

The First Secretary announced the extension of the lock-down for at least three more weeks today. Well, I had never expected the lock-down on London could be lifted at this time. The confirmed cases in the UK has just reached a hundred thousand today, four days after the death toll surpassed ten thousand.

Situation in China has been eased. Even Wuhan, the city where this coronavirus was first found and with the biggest casualties in China, was completely released from lock-down yesterday. No wonder why many Chinese people living in the UK now want to make their way back to China.

Maybe most Londoners know that there is a Chinatown near the Piccadilly Circus. Well, that is only a symbolic miniature of Chinese life in London. Much more Chinese people are living in the heart and vicinity of the city, traveling and bustling, doing business and linking the two great countries, in the normal days.

At the onset of the pandemic, when China was the only outbreak area, only a very small number of Chinese people (with essential needs) went back to China; since the middle of March, as the situation in the UK seemed lost control, especially the concept of “herd immunity” was thrown out, the Chinese community was panicked. Flights had been cut to once per week for each airlines company, but hundreds of thousands of Chinese people wanted to go back. Commercial charters are limited, too, and the ticket price can be astonishing.

Besides the difficulty of getting an airplane ticket, the tight epidemic control within the territory of China is also creating hassles for overseas Chinese. China has been put under a nation-wide lock-down for two months, casting huge damage to the economy. Obviously no one will hope a total lock-down be triggered a second time. As a result, a “daily self-declaration and submission” mechanism has been widely applied throughout the country, including upon those traveling overseas but now hoping to go back. Everyone who wants to fly back to China, must start to report his health conditions through a smart phone application, fourteen days prior to his planned date of departure, and continue to make such self-declaration and submission every 24 hours until he gets onboard the flight. Otherwise he may be rejected at the check-in counter at the departing airport, even he has a valid ticket, even the ticket has cost him thousands of pounds sterling.

It is very easy to fail on the “continuity” of such submission. For example, if one made his submission at 9:55 yesterday, but this morning he made it at 9:58, then sorry, abrupt, please restart a new 14-day cycle. I really cannot tell whether this is a scientific precaution mechanism, or simply does not want to let people go back.

Under this kind of crisis, all governments have their own concerns. Don’t expect every individual’s interests can be protected and looked after.

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