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Life in self-quarantine: How Chinese are coping

By Chen Yu | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-03-06 14:17

Editor's note: As many people across China are in voluntary self-quarantine to avoid possible cross-infection of the novel coronavirus for the past month, boredom is rising and so is people's creativity in sparking the quiet indoors life. With strict bans imposed in most residential areas and office buildings, the good ole fresh-off-stove-food-to-your-doorstep delivery service is no longer on the menu. To keep the risk of people-to-people transfer at minimum, remote work, online learning, home-cooked meals, and even "cloud clubbing" have been embraced by the self-quarantined in China. Some joked that as medical workers are fighting against the virus on the front line with scalpels and medicines, other citizens are supporting the fight by trapping any possible virus indoors and themselves along with it. Many have written to us about their battles against the virus. Let's have a look.

What is your story of the battle against the novel coronavirus?

ThisBroccoli (Spain)

I wasn't big on cooking. Takeouts for workdays and eating out on weekends was my "dietary routine". However, getting takeouts is not as convenient as before: walking to the front gate of the neighborhood with the face mask on, and then "scrubbing in" for the lunch, is too much work... So I started to experiment with dishes that are relatively easy to cook. Preparing my meals also has made me more aware of the artificial additives and ingredients that could go into your food. When cooking, I often cut back on animal fat, salt, and keep a watchful eye on saturated fat too. Though working from home and cooking the three meals has forced me to plan my time smartly, it has lead me to a healthier lifestyle.

PS. One tip for other beginner "chefs" like me, just cook your proteins to "well done" and add cheese and pepper or sauce of your choice to the dish.

A deliveryman picks up commodities purchased by online customers at a Carrefour hypermarket in Shanghai on Feb 20. [Photo by Yin Liqin/China News Service]

WendyAZ (China)

Staying at home for 14 days can be boring, especially for those who love going to shows and other events. And I am one of those people. There are only so many hours you can sit in the dark and catch up with new movies before you find movies are highly predictable in the plots. But then again, we do live in a time of the internet. So I joined an online volunteer organization that is dedicated to spreading verified information via social media. And my life has become much busier ever since. We start scouting for latest information from every solid source we can find, while another team of the volunteers traces down possible disease-related rumors trending on social media and have them verified and corrected... Though it seems that I am in isolation during the self-quarantine, I have been working and living with a big lively community every single day.

[Song Chen/China Daily]

Ashly (China)

I live very close to the epicenter of the outbreak, and my family and I were very anxious at first. However, we know that we have to face this situation with a brave face, and our life must go on. We are paying more attention to hygiene than usual, always putting on a face mask before we go anywhere, and we buy our groceries in bulk to limit the times we need to go out. I have spent more time in the kitchen learning new cuisines with my parents than I ever did, and have found myself much more relaxed when cooking. I work as a tutor, and have been teaching online at least two to three hours per day since late January.

[Hao Yanpeng/China Daily]

Moddpie (China)

I work for a fintech company, and have been working from home since early February while being in self-quarantine. We have exhausted almost every online collaboration tool during this time. Most of the time, it works. But then we sometimes tend to have online meetings that drag on for up to four hours, way past our regular lunch time...Over time, we have learned to separate our working time from our off-hours and tried to make specific schedules and stick to them. Working from home has been a new experience for me. And maybe it will be adopted more wildly than before in some industries as it may cut down rent for some SMEs.

[Cai Meng/China Daily]

OliverS (China)

I am the outdoorsy type and used to go out quite frequently with my friends. So I felt trapped after three days into my self-quarantine. Not having much to do at home, I started to see everything as a potential Lego toy around the house. I peeled oranges and then sow it back, pretending to be an "orange surgeon" who did a major surgery on it; I tried to teach my pet to do yoga (only to find that she is better at most yoga positions than me) and filmed it... I eventually found my way in a daily creative contest held in an online chat room. Somewhere along the line, I found out cloud clubbing just become a new internet phenomenon where users watch live performance of DJ and singers on livestream websites and some even buy virtual gifts for the performers. And earlier this week, e-commerce giants kicked off a new round of online marketing campaigns where they keep rolling out new product promotions almost by the hour, gearing up to the Women's Day-themed online shopping spree. Though all the online activities have made life easier during the self-quarantine period, I am still anxiously waiting for the day when I can walk down the street and breath without having the straps of the face mask digging into my ears.

[Cai Ming/China Daily]
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