Are the Chinese “saving face?” It seems as though saving face is the first thing the Chinese think about before acting. This is hugely a part of their culture, often leaving the foreigners shaking their heads and thinking “Boy you just can’t make this stuff up!”
With the outburst of the Novel Coronavirus are they trying to make things look good? There have been changes over here in Beijing, Daxing District to be more specific. If you look around outside there are new visuals that you see in place now due to the virus but are they helping to combat the virus like they seem to want us to think?
For instance, prior to the outbreak we could have food and grocery delivery to our door. Now we can not. I understand that. That is clearly a change for the positive in trying to contain the virus by less contact with the public.
There are guards stationed at the entrances to our compounds now. Our particular apartment complex has 7-8 entrances. We can only enter through two of them now. The gates are locked.
Fire hazard? yes! Virus Control? Doubtful.
If you look over at the fence people are jumping over right in front of the guards and getting inside, anyway.
Currently At each entrance, there are guards stationed with a thermometer, and a sign in sheet. They stay out there for most of the day. I wonder if they are out there at night time? and are they awake? Today was a bit colder as it snowed this morning, so I know they were cold, perhaps allowing more people to enter without proper measures as their hands were too cold to pull out of their pockets to use the thermometer. I saw many people just walk past the guards without a check. Often times though, when they see a foreigner, they don’t want to risk trying to speak to us, so we get off the hook quite frequently.
My luck finally ran out. They did make me stop for a temperature check this afternoon. My temperature was 24.8 celsius. They took it again, same. That is a severely low body temperature. They let me go after looking at it and tapping it on their hands a couple of times. I did not have to sign in. It appeared I did not have a fever.
Later in the afternoon, they stopped me again. This is good, they are becoming more confident in their jobs I guess, or at least they are taking it more seriously. This time, the temperature would not register. It only said LO. They took it again, LO. So they told me to sign in. I didn’t want to touch the pen so I held it with my jacket sleeve and signed my name and apartment number. I walked on inside.
This evening was a whole new ballgame! They have become a bit more diligent in enforcing stops, temperature checks and registration. They even had a tent set up with their table sitting beneath it. They took my temperature. 37.8 celsius. He took it again, 37.8 celsius.
I was quickly trying to calculate the fahrenheit equivalent in my head.
The guard translated on his phone, “Do you have a fever?” I quickly said, “No!”
He took my temperature again. 37.8
Are you sure you don’t have a fever is what translated on his phone. “No, I do not have a fever.”
He took my temperature on my wrist. He tried my other wrist. 37.8
He took my forehead. 37.8
“You have a fever, come with me.”
YIKES! My heart started racing, palms started to sweat, my bag became extra heavy and by then I knew my temperature was rising, but not because I had a fever. I remembered I had sneezed twice today. No coughing, no, I’m not sick.
Where were we going, I wondered. I just followed along. We got to the community center. He told me to go inside. I said I didn’t want to go inside. There were many other people in there and probably because they had a fever!!
He went inside the building and in the meantime, I’m pushing up my sleeves, taking off my gloves trying to cool by body temperature. I knew I wasn’t sick and I knew I didn’t have a fever. My temperature stays higher these days anyway, but not because of the virus.
A lady came out and asked if I have a fever. “I do not have a fever.”
“Where have you been?” she asked. Amazingly she spoke English.
I pulled a few vegetables out of my bag so she could see I had been at the store and not returning from Wuhan.
She asked if I had traveled out of Beijing recently. Of course, I had not. She brought her thermometer over to take my temperature.
LO is the reading on the screen.
She shook the thermometer and tried again, LO.
She hit the thermometer on her hand and tried again. 32.4 C on my wrist. 29.7 C on my other wrist. 26 C on my forehead. She hit the thermometer on her hand, tried to warm it up by putting her hands around it, and even tried taking the temperature of the guard. His temperature was LO.
Round 2. Different readings this time, with a rap on the hand to get a reading, but still not in the fever range.
She finally said, “I think you are ok, but if you have any problems or get sick call me at this number,” handing me a card.
They yelled over to the gate to let me in. I walked over bypassing the registration area and walked inside.
I went inside and messaged Heather to ask her if she had a thermometer. Of course she had one for the baby. I asked to borrow it. I took my temperature because now I was curious.
98.2 F on my forehead, 96.3 F on my wrists. Twice, the same reading. Perfect!!!! almost…
People’s tempers are beginning to flare. Just yesterday, I watched a guard and military personnel taking people’s temperatures. One man became so angry. He was yelling at the guards. The more he yelled, the easier it was for him to get inside without a temperature reading. So, in he walked, without a temperature check.
The guards, thermometers, military, sign in sheets and tents look impressive but are they really keeping people with fever out of the compound? It doesn’t seem like it!