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COVID-19 diaries from Wuhan: Waiting for the lifting of the lockdown

Vegetables from group buying. (Photo credit: Guo Jing)

The following post is the sixth in a series of diaries written by independent filmmaker and feminist scholar Ai Xiaoming and feminist activist Guo Jing. Both are living in Wuhan at the center of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are the links to the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth part of the series.

Check out Global Voices’ special coverage of the global impact of COVID-19.

This installment was written between February 20-27, 2020. The original Chinese diaries are published on Matter News.

Guo Jing: February 20, 2020

有人说到在家做了焦糖奶茶,大家纷纷表示羡慕。朋友来了兴致,给大家示范了她的自制奶茶,她先在铁勺里放了白糖,加了少许水,把铁勺放到炉子上用小火烧。看着白糖慢慢变成焦糖,隔着屏幕,大家都在尖叫。然后,朋友用锅煮奶,直接把铁勺放进去搅拌。奶盛出来后加红茶就有了焦糖奶茶。
有个很爱吃甜食的朋友说:“我打开淘宝,把购物车加满,看着解馋。”
有住户在群里发了一个捂汗“解封”的条件:每日新增感染人数(包括疑似感染人数)持续14天为0是必要条件。具体如下:

  1. 捂汗市其他人群(即非隔离非救治的健康人群)每日新增感染人数(包括疑似感染人数)为0,且此数据连续出现14天。在第15天开始,准备捂汗三镇分区域“解封”。
  2. 在1的条件满足后,自第15天始,捂汗市不“解封”,捂汗三镇分区“解封”,各自恢复区域内部的生产生活学习,但是三镇之间人员不交流,交通不连接。如果在捂汗三镇分区域“解封”时期,捂汗市其他人群每日新增感染人数为0,且此数据连续出现14天,则自第15天开始,准备捂汗市内部全部“解封”。
  3. 在1与2条件满足后,自第29天开始,捂汗市内部全部“解封”,市内交通完全恢复,人员自由流动,市内生产生活学习等工作完全运转起来。如果在捂汗市内部全部“解封”时期,捂汗市其他人群每日新增感染人数为0,且此数据连续出现14天,则自第15天开始,准备捂汗市外部“解封”。
  4. 在1与2与3条件满足后,自第43天开始,捂汗市恢复对全省全国的交通连接,捂汗市内部人员与全省全国人员自由流动。

看来小区至少还要封锁半个月。

A friend mentioned that she was making caramel milk tea at home. We were so envious. She was delighted and demoed how she made it. She put some sugar in a spoon and added some water. She then put the spoon on the stove and heated it slowly. We were all screaming when we saw the sugar turned into caramel. After that, she used a pot to warm the milk and stirred the milk with the spoon of caramel. After she added tea in the milk, she had the caramel milk tea. A friend with a sweet tooth said, ‘I have to go to [online shopping platform] Taobao to fill up my cart to distract me from the desire [for a sweet treat].’

Someone in our community group sent us a message about the criteria for lifting the lockdown: Zero new cases [confirmed or suspected] for 14 days. Details as follows:

  1. If the number of new cases in the non-forced quarantine group of people is zero and this record is kept for 14 days, Wuhan's three major towns will start preparing for district unlocking.
  2. If Criterion 1 is met, the lockdown of Wuhan's three towns will be lifted internally, i.e., people within a town can move freely but cannot travel outside of the town. The transportation service among these three towns will still be suspended. If the record of zero case numbers can be kept for another 14 days, Wuhan will be unlocked internally.
  3. If Criteria 1 and 2 are met, Wuhan's lockdown will be lifted internally, i.e., people can move freely among the three towns and the transportation service connecting them will be restored. People can work and go to school as usual inside Wuhan. If the record of zero case numbers can be kept for another 14 days, the lockdown of Wuhan will be completely lifted.
  4. If Criteria 1, 2 and 3 are met, Wuhan's lockdown will be completely lifted, i.e., people can move in and out of Wuhan freely, and the transportation service connecting Wuhan and other parts of the country will be restored.

It seems to me that we will be locked inside our community for at least another 14 days.

Guo Jing: February 21, 2020

我们和过去的关系是什么?昨天写完日记,我停下来休息,突然有种难以名状的悲伤。
当有人问我现在的状态,我总是说:“就这样的处境中而言,我还算比较好。”而我试图回想风尘以来的经历,昨天都很遥远。有时候我在讲这段时间的经历和变化,却没有丝毫情绪,像是那些事情与我无关。
这是一种试图逃离、回避的机制,可以暂时起到保护作用。可是,我们无法通过遗忘、逃避的方式来治愈自己。很庆幸我通过写日记来记下了这段时间的感受。我要尝试面对,讲出自己的感受是第一步,然后尝试理解自己在封锁的经历以及那些强烈的感情。

What is the relationship between us and our past? Yesterday, after I finished writing in my diary, I took a nap. At that moment, an unspeakable sadness hit me.

When people ask me how I am, I always say, ‘I am relatively fine under this kind of situation.’ When I try to recall what has happened after Wuhan was locked down, even yesterday feels like a long time ago. Sometimes, when I talk to people about what I have experienced and what has been changed, I do not carry any emotion in my words — as if what has happened has nothing to do with me.

This is a protective mechanism that helps me to escape from and avoid what might hurt me. However, we cannot heal ourselves by forgetting or escaping from what has happened. I am happy that I keep a record of how I felt during this time by writing in this diary. I will learn how to face it, and telling people about my feelings is the first step. Then I can try to understand my experience and the strong feelings I've been having during the lockdown.

Guo Jing: February 22, 2020

总有人会有门路,我的小区有个人一开始组织大家团购水果,今天又像是变戏法一样,不知在哪里抢了6袋盐、6瓶醋、6箱酸奶、还搞了很多鸡蛋,问有没有人要,盐一袋4元,醋一瓶7元,酸奶一箱50元,鸡蛋25个30元。

There are always some people with special connections. Someone in our community initiated group-buying for fruit and somehow, like a magician, s/he managed to get six packs of salt, six bottles of vinegar, six boxes of yogurt, and a lot of eggs today.

S/he asked whether we want to buy: a pack of salt for RMB 4 yuan, a bottle of vinegar for RMB 7 yuan, a box of yogurt for RMB 50 yuan, and 25 eggs for RMB 30 yuan. [RMB 1 yuan is equivalent to 14 United States cents.]

Guo Jing: February 23, 2020

People played within the community. (Photo credit: Guo Jing)

很多下楼晒太阳的人可能跟我一样,在家里憋不住。下楼的人大都会戴口罩,跟别人讲话也都保持着一些距离。每天被困在家里,不知何时会解封,我很心焦,也会感到绝望。
这几天,身体也开始感到疲惫。我没有发烧,食欲也还好,所以应该不是感染肺炎,只是身体对无力感的一种反应。
小区的蓝色围栏有两处被暴风雨打破。今天有三四个人从旁边的工地上搬了一些围栏来修补。我下楼跟他们聊了一下。原来是物业让他们来修的,为了防止有人跳墙
他们是地铁公司的工人,也是因为封城被困在了武汉,住在旁边的临时房,和他们一样困在这里的一共有9个人。
他们也曾去修建过火神山,有一天11点多临时接到通知,公司派车把他们接了过去,第二天早上才回来。他们一共去了4天。他们说,修建火神山的工人都是两班倒。结束了在火神山的工作,他们也在家隔离了15天。
现在很多社区会找他们帮忙做一些类似维修的工作,他们几个是技术工,有个人说“现在硬是把技术工当作劳动工。”公司会发口罩给他们,他们去火神山有补贴,封城期间也还是有工资。

Those who go downstairs to enjoy sunbathing probably cannot stand staying at home all day long, like me. When we go downstairs, most of us will wear masks, and we talk to others from a distance. I feel anxiety and despair because I have been trapped at home for a long time, and no one knows when the lockdown will be lifted.

My body is getting heavy these days. I do not have a fever, and my appetite is fine, so I do not think I am infected. I think this is just my body reacting to the feeling of being powerless.

Our community is surrounded by a blue fence and there are two spots with storm damage. Today, three or four people brought some materials from the construction site next to our community to fix the fence. I went downstairs to talk to them. They told me the property manager asked them to fix the fence to prevent people from jumping out. They used to be workers for the subway company, but they are stranded in Wuhan because of the lockdown. They live in the temporary housing nearby, nine of them in total.

They also went to help build the Huoshenshan Hospital, a field hospital for COVID-19. They received a notice at 11 o’clock on one day, and the company drove them to the construction site. They worked until morning the following day. Altogether, they worked on that project for four days. They told me all the workers helping build the field hospital worked in two shifts. After they finished their job there, they were quarantined for 15 days.

Recently, many communities ask them to help with property maintenance work. They are technicians by trade. One of them says, “They forced the technicians to do odd jobs.” Their company gives them masks, and they received subsidies when they worked in that field hospital project, so have made some income during the lockdown.

Guo Jing: February 25, 2020

现在我很少想到解封,武汉的现存确诊人数3万以上,解封遥遥无期,想也没用。
仔细思考了一下,我觉得解封可能跟封城是两回事。解封是一个过程,不会像封城一样是一个临时性的决定,第二天迅速就能够实施
现在一些城市的确诊人数的新增为0,现存确诊患者人数已经在下降,很多城市已经在降低封锁的程度。然而,很多人依旧不敢轻易出门。这大概是封锁的后遗症,很难一下子消除。

I seldom think of lifting the lockdown these days. There are more than 30,000 confirmed cases in Wuhan, and we will have to wait for a long time before the lockdown is lifted. Thinking about it does not help.

After pondering it carefully, lifting the lockdown and locking down a city are different kinds of decisions. Lifting the lockdown is a process, and it will not be like the lockdown, which was decided instantly and could be immediately implemented the next day.

Some cities have had zero confirmed cases for a few days. Currently, the number of confirmed cases is decreasing, and many cities have loosened the control [measures]. However, many people are afraid to go outside. I think this is the sequelae of prolonged lockdown, and the sense of fear will not diminish soon.

Ai Xiaoming: February 27, 2020

仙桃的劉文雄醫生走了
1月21日 他看了180位病人
一個月裏 他接診3181人
每天晚上還要接電話問診
一個月只休息了兩天
第三天因為胸痛去了醫院

Dr. Liu Wenxiong in Xiantao city has passed away.
He saw 180 patients on January 21.
He had taken care of 3,181 patients in one month.
He also gave medical advice over the phone every evening.
He only rested for two days in that month.
On the third day, he went to a hospital because of chest pain.

[Note from the translator: The death of Dr. Liu is suspected to be due to overwork.]

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