Hello from Shanghai — Day 7 in a quarantine hotel
I’m writing this update from a quarantine hotel in Shanghai. This is Day 7 of the 14-day mandatory quarantine period. Halfway there and so far so good.
Since China tightened up the rules of entry — dual tests 2 days before the flight — about a month ago, prices of direct flights to China have skyrocketed. The uneasiness was coupled with unexpected last-minute flight cancels.
At last, we managed to get on the plane, but it took us 6 hours from landing to getting to our hotel room, with a lot of QR-code checking, COVID testing, and shuttle bus waiting.
Hotels are assigned based on your residence district if you are a Shanghai resident, or randomly if your final destination is not Shanghai.
Our hotel is the Holiday Inn Express next to the Shanghai Railway Station. It has decent Wi-Fi speed — so I have no trouble writing this update to you — and allows external food and grocery delivery. Not all hotels satisfy these two very important criteria, and we are quite thankful for that.
Speaking of food and groceries delivery, it’s so much more efficient and reliable here than my experiences with DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Instacart. Clearly, Meituan, Eleme, and Ding Dong are doing a great job.
COVID prevention and testing are quite strict. All the airport and hotel staff we met since landing were wearing full protective gear. People are taking it very seriously here, unlike the half-hearted “shelter-in-place” procedures we saw in California most part of this year.
An alarm came in on Day 3, when we saw in a WeChat group that a passenger on our flight was discovered with COVID symptoms. (Thank goodness we were sitting very far away from that person.) Within only a few hours, passengers of adjacent rows were all escorted to a separate and higher-level quarantine site.
Some of these passengers included elderly over 80-years old and were thus previously sent to home quarantine (still very strict with a police seal on their doors). It might have been their once-in-a-lifetime experience to be escorted from their homes by police cars and ambulances, making them quite a celebrity in their neighborhood.
Meanwhile, we updated the 2nd episode of the series on Pudong’s 30-year anniversary, where we talk about how the Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman was wrong in his judgment of the future of Pudong from 30 years ago.
Enjoy your reading!