Yue will spend her first two weeks in isolation because of coronavirus
Yue will spend her first two weeks in Groningen in isolation
Friends will provide Yue with the necessary food supplies and she will only leave the house to take out the garbage early in the mornings. ‘This is best for everybody’, she decided after having thoroughly discussed the situation with her new housemate in Groningen.
They have agreed that Yue will stay in their shared house by herself, while her roommate, for the time being, will rent an Airbnb. After two weeks, which is the known incubation time of the coronavirus, the two will move in together.
Back in her home town of Dikou, a village 750 kilometers to the north of Wuhan, Yue’s daily life had already been affected by the outbreak. She was isolated from family and friends, as local authorities decided to seal off the village at the start of the outbreak.
This was especially difficult during the Chinese New Year last week. ‘Normally we visit our loved ones during this time of year, but now everyone was glued to their mobiles’, she explains. As a result, Yue did not get to say goodbye to her sick grandmother, who lives in a different village, before heading to Groningen.
Yue saw with her own eyes how quickly fear can spread. Before she left, four people from the nearby city of Liaocheng had been diagnosed with the coronavirus. ‘Luckily for me, they were from a different district’, she says.
But once the government put up road blockades around her village, people started worrying. ‘The virus wasn’t a big deal until people realized they couldn’t leave’, Yue says. ‘That’s when the panic spread.’ The fact that no one went out to buy for groceries even though the shops remained open, illustrates the intensity of their anxiety.
She herself grew increasingly concerned about her upcoming journey to Groningen, her new home for the next four years. She didn’t know if she could even make it to the Beijing airport, which is about 450 kilometers north of her home town, and board her flight.
The local authorities do let people leave if’s urgent. Yue starting a new job abroad was reason enough for them. On her way to the airport, she encountered traffic jams, due to the mandatory temperature checks.
Before arriving at the airport, she had her temperature checked three times. Then once more after her arrival, as part of the security check. ‘All passengers on board the flight, including children, wore masks and only took them off to eat’, Yue explains.
It’s now four days since she arrived in Groningen and Yue feels healthy. Yet she stands by her decision to stay home for two weeks, deeming it necessary for her future life in Groningen.
‘I was nervous about making contact with other people after having come from China’, she says. This way, she and others will know for sure there’s nothing to fear.
Yue will spend her time at home preparing for her PhD, reading novels and searching for tips on what to do in her new city.