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Old 03-02-2020, 10:43 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 7,001
Travel in China during this period

Having just returned from China on Saturday, I am into my 14-day quarantine mandated by MOH advisory. Suffice to say it has not been a pleasant 2-week stay in China. I am unable to report on the situation in the other parts of China. In the north where I stayed, over 1500km from Wuhan, the crisis escalation was swift from the 23rd, when entertainment outlets in the nearest were told not to open the following day. It was at this time that Wuhan was declared to be closed.

In the rural area where I was, residents began to block village access points with their vehicles from the 27th, as rumours began to spread about who has come home from Wuhan, and which local government officials have been fired for letting suspected cases slip away. Visiting for CNY became difficult as a result of village roads being blocked. There were highway road-blocks as well, as residents with non-local ICs would not be allowed into cities. At this point too, local bus services were suspended.

On the 29th, I was informed that my flight on the 31st from the airport nearby to the city of Lanzhou was cancelled. My original plan was to proceed from Lanzhou to Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia on the same night. I scrambled and with the help of relatives, elected to go by train to Lanzhou. This meant an earlier departure on the 30th by the sleeper to Lanzhou. I was confident that the Air Asia flight would not be cancelled as its status was confirmed.

Getting to the train station in the nearest city on the 30th was quite an experience. There were many phone calls made to relatives and anybody who might know which roads were still open. Information was sketchy and a lot was hearsay. Finally, a relative who knew the roads well opted to drive me to the train station via the G6 Beijing-Tibet Expressway which runs behind the village. I advocated that we would talk our way through checkpoints, using my passport and proof of onward travel like tickets. As it stood, my 15-day visa-free window would expire on the next day, and I absolutely had to depart China on Friday. We have only gotten past the toll-booths (unmanned anyway because of the free access for CNY) when we joined the tail end of a a vehicle queue that stretched at least a kilometre. All kinds of vehicles were in the queue, from those trying to enter the city or simply to make their way further west (this is the G6 after all- the western terminus is in Tibet).
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