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Coronavirus - those in China, and general discussion


Jan Finster
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11 hours ago, mungouk said:

Now I know the true meaning of "Nasopharyngeal"... 

Thanks for letting us know what you're experiencing.  As others have noted, it's helpful to hear 1st hand experiences.  

 

A good friend is getting married in China next year, so I'm very interested about the requirements for going to China (which I realize keep changing....).  

 

A language aside:  In the superb "History of English" (language) podcast, Kevin Stroud gives a fascinating tidbit:  "pha-," as in nasopharngeal, is the Greek version of the same Latin "fa-" in words like fame, face, fame, and "-fess" in words like professor, profession, confess, & others.  pha-/fa-/-fess word fragment relates to what comes in & out of your mouth, including food and words.   So "fame" is what people say about you and what people say can determine your "fate."  One's profession was originally based on what person said (just as vocation/vocalize....) .  An "infant" is someone who doesn't speak "in-" (not) - fant - (speak).     Now you know EVEN more about the true meaning of nasopharngeal....  

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Someone somewhere must be putting together a website that collects examples of all the nonsensical rules governments are imposing. Wales with its supermarket aisle closures seemed at the top of the list, but this quote in today's Hong Kong Standard is a close contender:

 

"Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee today dismissed criticism on authorities’ latest move on easing the social distancing measures, saying it is not illogical to allow six to dine at a table in eateries while banning social gatherings of four outdoors."

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It's being reported in various quarters (including the Chinese embassy in Ireland) that the requirement for entering China is now both a PCR/RNA (swab) test and an antibody/IgM (blood) test within 48 hours of departure (reduced from 72 hours).


https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/u7qxabkjmMq4s2PL6V2-Rg

 

Given that PCR test results often take 48 hours to come back this is going to be a real headache for many people. Before I left the UK I managed to find one clinic that was saying they could do it in 24 hours.

And you still need to email your results and health declaration to your embassy or consulate for approval (signature + chop).

 

 

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The other day I watched a video of a local TV program about a Spaniard who went to China to work as a teacher. She took a PCR test prior to flying to China, and two more after landing in the country. Then she had a blood test, and they found she had covid antibodies. The school told her that the students' parents would be too scared to allow their children to be near her, so the authorities told her she had to leave the country within four days (you can watch the video here, it's in Spanish). I don't know if this is an isolated case or will be the norm, but now it seems they also check antibodies.

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20 hours ago, Brassneck said:

Does that mean if you have had Coronavirus at some point in the past then you automatically would fail entry requirements? Don’t really understand why that is relevant.

 

And how does it work when vaccines are rolled out?

No one knows what happens, at what pace, when China or other places have a vaccine. I doubt China will change its practices much until they have achieved herd immunity via vaccine.

 

Currently, if you test positive, you are treated as a positive case, regardless of "if you had coronavirus at some point in the past" or currently. All that matters is the positive test. There are examples of both Chinese and foreigners in China spending weeks or months in forced quarantine, asymptomatic and healthy feeling, because their PCR tests are still positive. Definitely a risk that needs to be considered if flying into China, even if the chances are low.

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9 hours ago, Geiko said:

now it seems they also check antibodies.

 

A standard part of the procedure (now, at least) is that you have both a PCR/RNA test and an Antibody/IgM test before you're allowed to leave quarantine.

 

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US departures also require a negative antibody test before one is allowed to board a flight bound for China. This reads like a de facto ban...

 

http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/notices/t1828184.htm

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Passengers bound for China via direct flights must take nucleic acid and IgM anti-body tests at a testing institution in the U.S. within 48 hours before boarding. Upon receiving the certificates of negative results of both tests, they need to submit them to the Chinese Embassy/Consulates

 

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Yeah that's basically what I was saying earlier...  this has just come in during the last few days.

 

If you live in a country that doesn't have direct flights to China then they expect you to take both tests again in the transit country as well...

 

Quote

and then take both tests a second time in their last transit country within 48 hours before boarding the plane to China.

 

Practically speaking you might as well give up, for now at least.  I'm feeling very lucky I made it out here in time!

 

These much-promised 1-hour tests can't come soon enough really.  Not just for travellers, but for everyone.

 

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42 minutes ago, mungouk said:

These much-promised 1-hour tests can't come soon enough really.  Not just for travellers, but for everyone.

exactly - i can't see how it's possible for anyone to do both tests within 48 hours of departure (i guess that's the point...). they gave me a 5 day window a few months ago! 

 

hospitals are still pretty strict in Beijing - i had to do another covid and antibody test before i could be admitted to a local hospital. 

 

@mungoukhow's quarantine going? 

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Oh I forgot to mention... 2 people on my flight tested positive. 

So all the QR codes and the test-and-trace kicked in. I was notified on day 3 of QT that there had been a positive on the flight, and on day 4 a PPE person knocked at my door and gave me an official letter (all in Chinese) with a chop on it, explaining I am a "general contact" of COVID-positive people, even giving their names, and then the usual list of precautions etc. plus a couple of bullet points about legal liability.

I think I got off lucky... one of my colleagues had been sat within a couple of rows of someone who tested positive on his flight, and he got moved from his hotel to a more serious-sounding quarantine facility with more testing. 

They seem to be taking it all very seriously... on the first day I reported a temperature of 37.4 (seemed normal enough to me, certainly not feverish) and the medical team on WeChat went into overdrive, asking me if I had any symptoms, please take reading again in 5 minutes and again etc. until it was down below 37.0.

 

 

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For a different update, I just flew from Hong Kong (where I spent the summer) to Europe. The sense of disconnect is quite shocking, at least to me. Obviously, Europeans have also resigned themselves to let the virus run free, although few politicians say so openly yet. But the political price of acting early is too high, and the economic price of acting late is also too high, so very little gets done. 

 

As the virus becomes endemic to most of the Western world, the question then becomes when is China ever going to open up again. I still remember the days in the late '90s when foreigners were automatically suspected of being HIV carriers (I was in my early 20s, so it made a big impression on me). This is quite a lot more contagious, and a vaccine for HIV hasn't been found in 40 years....

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32 minutes ago, carlo said:

Obviously, Europeans have also resigned themselves to let the virus run free, although few politicians say so openly yet. But the political price of acting early is too high, and the economic price of acting late is also too high, so very little gets done.

I'd be one of the first to complain about all kinds of things the Dutch government should have done differently and earlier, but you can't say they're doing 'very little'. We're in a second all-but-lockdown, testing seems to finally be getting on track, face masks are worn more and more in most indoor spaces. Belgium is increasingly locked down as well. I'm not very clear on what action Germany is taking but I know that they are taking all kinds of action. Sure, it's far from adequate, but to say it's very little is also not fair. Perhaps you are talking about a different country in Europe, where your remarks are true? Since Europe is a big and very diverse continent, it's usually better to name specific countries with things like this.

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@Lu apologies, maybe I just got out of bed on the cynical side this morning. I was thinking specifically of (parts of) Switzerland and Italy where I've been this past week. Though given the degree of economic interdependence and people flows within the continent, I wonder if looking at regions in isolation makes much sense. I won't go into specifics else this becomes a forum for amateur virologists rather than students of Chinese. 

 

However, from the point of view of someone just stepping off a plane from HK (and I'm putting on my cross-cultural glasses here), the fact that, say, the smoking room at Zurich airport is still open with dozens of people inside exhaling on each other is just shocking. Yes, "very little" is unfair from the point of view of countries going through a lockdown now, but I meant that in terms of returns, not costs. So, for example, making mask wearing mandatory very early would be "doing more" than locking people inside their homes for a month once things are already out of control.

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1 hour ago, carlo said:

As the virus becomes endemic to most of the Western world, the question then becomes when is China ever going to open up again.

 

China is relatively well off at the moment compared with the rest of the world. On the other hand, if the outside world achieves herd immunity, and China is the only country to have not achieved this, then they will either have to isolate indefinitely, or open the floodgates sooner or later, neither of which will be good for the people or party. Of course, a vaccine, if proved effective, could change this though.

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1 hour ago, carlo said:

As the virus becomes endemic to most of the Western world, the question then becomes when is China ever going to open up again.

Very interesting question, and I suppose the same applies to New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, plenty of other places too?

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Over the past month, Hong Kong has had two or three local "cases" per day. This in a city of 7.5 million.

 

With such results, you'd think restrictions would be gone or at least going.

 

But no, here's the ever-gloomy health minister in today's SCMP:

 

"Secretary for Food and Health Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee said she was 'very worried' by what she had seen over the Halloween weekend. 'During Halloween, people went out for fun and there were lots of gatherings. There were also people going on staycation and hanging out for fun,' Chan told a radio programme on Monday. 'If there is any change in the pandemic situation, if the public’s adherence to self-discipline is unsatisfactory, or if there are lots of cases of violation of [social-distancing] regulations, we do not rule out tightening the measures.'"

 

Wake up. There is no end to this.

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39 minutes ago, roddy said:

In the UK, we're doing plenty. Inconsistently and not for long enough, but inaction is only one of the things you can accuse us of.

 

Outsourcing dodgy contracts for PPE to companies that have no experience and deliver the wrong things, deliberately incentivizing people to eat out in crowded places, setting up a "simple" 3-tier system that's poorly understood and inconsistently applied (then promptly abandoning it), ruling out a two- or three-week lockdown as too damaging to the economy then being forced to apply a four-week one instead... Yep, I'd say that's "plenty" enough. 🤦‍♀️

 

19 minutes ago, anonymoose said:

if the outside world achieves herd immunity

 

Herd immunity is only a realistic prospect once either a) an effective vaccine is discovered, b) treatments are discovered that make the death rate negligible, or c) many millions more people have died from the virus. Anything else is a pipe dream.

 

10 hours ago, mungouk said:

A standard part of the procedure (now, at least) is that you have both a PCR/RNA test and an Antibody/IgM test before you're allowed to leave quarantine.

 

Does anyone know what recourse you have if you've tested positive on the antibody test? E.g. can you then re-apply to travel after a given period of time has passed, though you'd still test positive for antibodies at that time? I can't be the only one here that has personal reasons for wanting to know this (I haven't yet had the virus to my knowledge, but it may be several months before I can return to China for other reasons)...

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