As in Singapore and neighbouring South Korea, there are strong indications that the social distancing measures enacted in China have led to control of COVID-19. Progress is now being made towards restarting the economy and allowing its residents to slowly return to normality. As focus has started shifting to controlling any imported cases, businesses, government offices, and stores around the country have begun reopening. An increasing number of areas have also started reopening schools.
The travel sector has also started showing signs of a reboot: the Badaling Great Wall near Beijing re-opened to the public on 24 March, while in Shanghai many museums and sites of interest have already re-opened. In order to ensure everyone’s health and safety, all sites require pre-booking and have set strict caps on their numbers of simultaneous visitors, well below their total capacities.
Health and safety remain the number one priority and social distancing is still practised even as self-quarantine measures start easing up. Cities, airports, train stations, and other public spaces all around China are being thoroughly disinfected. Airports, shops, communities, and offices (including the Destination Asia offices) are enacting temperature checks in order to spot and help anyone showing potential infection and reduce the risk of spread. Deliveries in China have quickly evolved from in-person deliveries to a “contactless experience”, ranging from rudimentary warehouse shelving to QR-code self-service package pick-up stations and autonomous deliveries by logistics robots.
We remain hopeful the rest of the world will soon follow a similar trajectory after a period of self-quarantine. While this does not mean the coming days will be easy, we are encouraged that China’s case shows that a few months of staying home can and does save lives while flattening the curve. Of course, we still encourage everyone to follow the instructions of relevant authorities such as your local government and the WHO: www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public.