‘Even the karaoke bars have reopened in China’

Here in China, the coronavirus is no longer playing a role in our daily lives. China has beaten the disease. Everything is normalising. Thanks to quick responses and tracing, the virus is virtually gone. As a result, social distancing is no longer necessary, and everyone is packed together again in restaurants, busses and parks. Even the karaoke bars have reopened.

It makes sense that, with the risk of infection gone, we can forget about social distancing. However, everyone is still alert. Highly alert. Temperature checks at the supermarket entrance and QR scanning to keep track of people’s movements remain compulsory. The reason for this alertness is the fear that the virus will return. People are particularly afraid that the virus will be imported this time. All new cases registered in recent months came from abroad. People were bringing it into the country from outside China.

Hence a certain level of suspicion towards foreigners among the local population. It doesn’t really affect me personally. I’m the only foreigner in the town where I live, and they got used to me over the years. But in general, this is a sentiment that’s present all over Asia at the moment. Foreigners are treated as if they’re surrounded by an aura of the virus. I should add that in China, there was recently a case of a small group of foreigners who were infected but ignored all the rules. Perhaps that explains this suspicious attitude to some extent.

The borders are still pretty much closed; slowly but surely, this is changing too. Little by little. The closed borders are the main restriction that’s still in place in Asia. But to get the economy back on track, more and more exceptions are made. Reading the news, I get the impression that things are returning to a certain level of normality in Europe too. Once the virus remains isolated and there’s a vaccine, maybe by the end of this year or beginning of next year, things can really go back to normal. It might not all be as it was before the pandemic.

But I’m optimistic, I think things will only get better!

Cok Harteveld,

General manager Berg Roses, China

Click here to read more blogs from Cok.


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