The Third Day: 25 March 2020

The Third Day: 25 March 2020 (9,529 confirmed infected, 463 died, in total)

"The Prince of Wales has tested positive for coronavirus." – Clarence House

The biggest breaking news today is no doubt the confirmed contraction of Prince Charles with the coronavirus. As the heir to the British throne, Charles is definitely the most prominent person who has got the virus till now. The news got about to the other side of the Earth in no time and caused a massive earthquake. A Chinese social media even reported it under the title “Prince Charles Got His Corona Before His Crown”.

Being at the age of 71, he is among the vulnerable group of people to this virus. But what is more worrying is that the Queen, who is close to her 94, has met Charles some days before. This can be truly fatal if the Queen got infected, too. She left the Buckingham Palace for Windsor some days ago, as it is not safe for her to stay in the city centre any longer. Till now she is all fine. Do hope this continues to be the fact until the end of the plague.

Our family went to the nearby supermarket in the afternoon to buy some groceries. To prevent the shopping arcade from overcrowded, customers are now required to line up outside the entrance (the one in the car park only; other entrances are closed), keeping a 2 meters distance from each other. Members from the same family may stand together, but no more than two people are allowed in one group.

No one except us wore a face mask. The totally different attitudes towards wearing a face mask between Chinese and other people are partially due to cultural and habitual divergence, and partially due to their information and understandings about the virus. I may discuss this issue in my later diary.

Stock in the supermarket looked relatively abundant, unlike the situation was some days ago. Below I put up a photo I took one week earlier, when news was first being released on the possible lockdown of the entire city, as a comparison:

We had gradually built our family’s stockpile (a reasonable stock, not “resource-grabbing” ) some three weeks ago, when we saw that the number of confirmed cases in the UK started to be out of control, and a lockdown and lack of life essentials might happen at any time. So, we were one step earlier than most Londoners and did not run into the “panic-buying race” last week. Now we just need to occasionally resupply some fresh vegetables and fruits, and do not need to worry about other provisions for the moment.

As we saw today at the supermarket, a number of essential items were limited to one or two pieces per customer. Labels with “Think about Others” printed could be seen on most shelves. That is a good policy to let more people get their necessities. But a shortcoming is that people have to come back to the shops more often to replenish their supplies, which increases social contacts. The way in some places in the “general-mobilized” China is that supplies are allotted and delivered to each household directly. That does minimize social contacts, but creates other kind of problems, too. No solution is perfect at this point.

Next chapter