Dr. Howl: A Lockdown diary entry from Faye Tsang, who recently returned to her native Canton, China, after an extended Cambodia stay, and found herself in quarantine.

Finally, I could set foot on the balcony of the hotel room and freely inhale fresh air, and then be on my way home real soon. Hearing the suitcase wheels rumbling downwards the sloping path leading to the lobby, I said to myself, “That’s it… a 14-day mandatory quarantine is over.”

It turned out not so bad for me though, a period of isolation at some five-star resort. Hotel-isolation was a special measure at the time to prevent Covid-19 spread due to many infected Chinese returning from abroad. Every one stranded in this situation would not complain too much for the luxurious and costly treatment arranged by authority, even if it had been confining and extremely boring. 

This is my hometown, Canton or Guangzhou city, which is more expensive for living than many other places in China. However, many other companions who flew here from Southeast Asia to transit still had to put up with this quarantine for the time being.

Being fair here, you pay for what you get, (‘yes, I have to pay) besides the pleasant accommodation in a tranquil and beautiful rural environment tuned with birds singing. The team of hosts have been working very hard to meet our basic requires – decent meals, mosquito repellent, toilet roll, detergent, and more, all except room cleaning and customized catering.

And there was another team of medical staff from the district hospital, who have been working very dutifully to carry out the day-to-day sterilizing and checking, including virus testing twice a day, which was free of charge for us, the observed objects. 

Friends of mine all seemed very relieved for me having successfully left Cambodia, where the spread of the epidemic was unclear.

Yeah so far, I was feeling very lucky, even when completing multiple road trips across Cambodia and a two-and-a-half-hour flight to Baiyun International Airport I seem to have avoided infection.

14 days was going very peaceful and as regular as military drills. Yet for a solitary soul like me, it was not much difficult to cope with, by use of reading, copy-writing ( from my freelance job) additionally with some help of an indoor exercise video that was introduced to me by a friend, and a shuttlecock – complimentary from the hotel.

The only humane contact was eye contact and Q and A happened during my daily physical check-up. Incidentally the two-week isolation was largely in gloomy weather, that reflects the moodier spirit of the Ching Ming customary calendar period. 

Thinking of the whole endeavour Chinese people have engaged in, especially the huge sacrifice of Wuhan folks, I gradually found the emergency rules of the authorities quite acceptable and practical, given imported infected cases have been increasing.

So you see, I am still able to adapt to typical Chinese socialism, even though I have stayed overseas for a long period.

Hopefully this global health crisis will soon be defused and overcome, through co-operation across countries no matter how different the social systems, races, or political agendas are.