Before boarding your flight Angels in the Chinese city of guangzhou, Xue Liang Quana lawyer based in CaliforniaHe knew he was going to have a little headache.
Visiting his parents in the eastern province of shandong in January, for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Xue37 years old, already had spent $7,600 on plane tickets. He had submitted negative test results to Chinese authorities, as required for entry. Upon arrival, he is expected to serve three weeks of quarantine.
Even so, he could never foresee the ordeal he was about to undergo. XueDue to a streak of Kafkaesque bad luck and clashes with China’s hardline rules on the virus, he would spend the next three months in quarantine, bouncing between hospitals and hotel rooms. When he came out of a solitary lap, another was immediately ordered. At the time of his return flight, he would have had approximately two days of freedom in China. He wouldn’t have seen his parents at all.
“It was like a nightmare“, mentioned Xue in an interview with Californiawhere he returned earlier this month and wrote a post on the social media platform wechat about your experience. “I thought that if I didn’t write it down, it would look even more like a nightmare: like I had a bad dream in my bed in Los Angeles on January 1, woke up on April 1 and was still in my bed in Los Angeles Angeles, and the time in between would have disappeared”.
China has enforced some of the toughest quarantine restrictions in the world for more than two years.in his unwavering search forcovid zero”. wuhanthe city where the pandemic started, was closed for two months. Shanghaiwho is currently fighting his worst fight ever covidhas been paralyzed for two weeks. International travel to and from China is almost non-existent.
The restrictions have been the source of much debate, both at home and abroad. Even the blog entry of Xuewhich was widely shared on Chinese social media, drew polarized reactions, with some readers expressing their horror, others calling it prime material for a comedy film and others attacking Xue to be back to Chinadenouncing it as a selfish decision that risked introducing the virus into the country.
Xuewho was born in China and moved to United States seven years ago, remains resolutely neutral. “I blame no one: no person, government or organization“, mentioned. “I can only blame myself, for being so unlucky”.
His ill-fated journey began on January 2, when, armed with a test negative covidtook off from Angels. In guangzhou, was retested and sent to a quarantine hotel. Her room was a nice surprise – it even had a huge jacuzzi. He thought the next few weeks would be like a mini vacation..
But it wasn’t So. As he was about to go to bed to rest, he received a phone call informing him that the test from the airport had come back positive. He would be taken to hospital by ambulance..
Xue With difficulty, he put on the full protective gear that had been left for him at the door. His breath clouded the goggles and face shield. “The only thing I could see was the endlessly falling drops of water“, he wrote on his blog.
He spent the next four weeks in a hospital, sharing a room with two other patients. He spoke daily by video with his parents, assuring them that his symptoms were mild. He took pictures of his food to show them he was eating well. (Actually he said Xue, I only took pictures of the best foods, so they wouldn’t worry). He worked remotely for the law firm he founded.
January 31, the eve of the lunar new year – the biggest party Chinawho hoped to pass with his family-, saw the Spring Festival Galaa TV show, on his tablet, alone in bed.
He had little contact with his teammates; no one was really in the mood to socialize, he said Xue.
“At first I felt quite depressed“, mentioned. “The only thing you can do is suffer. And, within the limits of your abilities, organize your daily life as well as possible. When you have to take a shower, take a shower. When you have to brush your teeth, brush”.
On February 1, he was released from the hospital and transferred to another, for recovered patients, for two more weeks of “medical observation”.
But even after that, his ordeal was only halfway.
After leaving the second hospital, Xue stolen from Shanghaiwhere he had family. I had given up going shandongtheir quarantine rules being stricter than those of Shanghai at this moment. The test carried out there, as required by local regulations, came back negative. For the first time in a month, he was free.
It lasted two days. On February 19, he was informed by Guangzhou health authorities that the only other man he had shared a bus with since the last hospital had tested positive.. which turned into Xue in close contactmeaning he now had to spend 14 days in hotel quarantine.
Then, on March 6 – the same day he was due to be released from this quarantine – he received another call. A manager told him that he himself had tested positive again. Xue he asked for evidence, but the official refused, he said. “The hardest thing for me was the lack of certainty“, mentioned. “Every time I thought a stage was over, and I was about to be free, the nightmare came back.”.
And so began a new procedure with which Xue he was now too familiar. Another two weeks in a medical center. Two more weeks at the hotel.
Finally, on March 31, Xue was released, really. But, exhausted by his ordeal, he had given up on seeing his parents again and booked a return flight to United States April 1. The only relative he saw was his younger brother, in Shanghai.
In other times, Xue he would have felt sorry: living abroad, he said, he had long toyed with, even obsessed, the idea of home. But the weeks of isolation have given him a new perspective..
“We want to go home and reunite, so that our lives, which have been separated, will intersect again. But if we tried and we didn’t succeed, I don’t regret anything“, mentioned. “I still have to account for myself. I can’t, for this reunion, sacrifice another three months”.
Xue is sensitive to controls China. The country’s population is so large and aging so rapidly, he said, that living with the virus could be disastrous.
But he himself will not attempt to return until restrictions are eased. “Otherwise, I think I would still feel somewhat traumatized.“, mentioned. “i’m really scared”.
(C) The New York Times.-