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Weekly Blog #48 - Quarantine... again

My wife and I returned to Shanghai on Monday. As you might or might not know, we've spent almost all of December in her hometown Naantali, where we've met my in-laws and celebrated Christmas. It's been a blessing to be able to go there and enjoy spending a couple of weeks away from the big city. Not to mention the relief for body (especially lungs), mind and soul.

However, returning to Shanghai comes with a certain process that we had to and continue to go through for the past and the next couple of days. And it has changed a lot since we've last been quarantined in March this year. Back then, we were allowed to leave the airport and do home-quarantine. Some of you might remember that. I wrote a blog every day back then from the comfort of my own home.

Way different story this time... After arriving over an hour late at PVG we had to wait almost 1.5 hours in the plane so that everything could be prepared inside the airport. The moment we left the aircraft a very friendly women in a hazmat suit waited for us with our names on a sheet of paper. The woman introduced herself as an employee from the Foreign Affairs Office here in Shanghai (kinda special treatment for diplomats I guess).

Our first stop was a registration point where they took pictures of our passports and boarding passes and gave us a little vile with liquid and a piece of paper with a barcode on. This was required to get ourselves tested for Covid-19 - BYOB (bring your own bottle) style.

After that, the nice women led us to a testing-station where samples were taken. From both nostrils - I really hate that. For everyone who hasn't been tested: they shove a stick with a little soft tip inside your nostrils until you feel it somewhere in the middle of your brain (I'm exaggerating, but that's what it feels like to me) and then they twist it five times in one direction, wait 10 seconds, and twist it five times in the other direction. Yuck!

The special containers that had been installed right outside the terminal (air-side) were filled with staff in hazmat suits so that all roughly 220 travelers could be tested in a very brief period of time. After testing the woman brought us to two more stations related to the testing procedure. At the first one we received a stamp on the sheet of paper we got at the previous station. The people at the next station collected the sheet of paper... crazy! I felt like in a Day-Z-type-of-horror-movie...

Now we were finally allowed to grab our luggage - still accompanied by the nice lady from the FAO. Next stop: customs. Nothing to declare, passed the queue, nothing to see here... After that we met another person from the FAO who took more pictures of our passport and boarding pass and crossed us off a list of foreigners who had to be registered on arrival. No big deal - just a crazy amount of "registration steps", "taking pictures", etc...

From there we were brought to the collection point where everybody got on a bus to the first "over-night-stop" that you have to stay in for one night until the results from testing were in. But we weren't led to the bus - we passed the bus and were brought to a van with another person in hazmat suit. Since we are not allowed to stay in the same hotel as the locals, we were brought to a different hotel. Again, no big deal - just the typical "foreigners are treated differently around her"... We arrive at around 2 pm. Almost five hours after landing.

So, now we are here, in our hotel. After being tested 4 times for Covid-19 (3 times in Finland, once here) and once for antibodies. We'll be staying here for at least seven days. After that we might be allowed to switch to home-quarantine. The food was good on the first day... let's see how it goes from here - I'll keep you posted!

The friendly Lady from the FAO...

My hotel room - my wife and I have been separated upon arrival...

My first lunch... typical Chinese.

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