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Old 03-02-2020, 11:31 AM   #2
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 6,996
Taking the road shoulder to get to the head of the queue, we saw that the local health and police authorities had just set up a checkpoint on the G6, maybe 2 hours ago. A tent was newly put up, and a camper truck had been parked by the side, the kind that serves as mobile dormitory or office for road construction teams all over China. This one came from a re-location company. Furniture and stationery were still being moved into the tent. For the bitter cold at this time in northern China, a coal heater had been put in place so the people at the counters had some comfort. At this point, everybody had their face masks on. Surprisingly, everything was under control. Nobody was shouting despite the long wait in the cold. We made our case to the senior officer on the site and were advised that I could get an exemption but had to proceed by myself to the city after clearing the temperature checks and filling a rough form. My companions would have to turn back. The policemen assured us that there would be no other road-blocks going into the city. However, could we persuade anyone to take me to the train station? We checked with a few drivers at the head of the queue and nobody would take me, understandably so. There were taxis in the queue that would take me for a fare, but at the rate the queue was going, the first taxi might only be cleared an hour or 2 later. I suppose if the policemen demanded, a driver might be persuaded. This was when my driver, who is a cousin, suggested that the police hold his ID card so that he could drive me to the train station and return within an hour for his ID. The police officers agreed.

Thus I was driven on the empty G6 and sent to the train station with 8 hours to spare.
Enroute, not only was the G6 void of vehicle traffic, the prefecture-level city was deserted too. There were people on the streets, but no commercial activity was seen. Supermarkets seemed open, as they were allowed to, but there were temperature checks and only a few people were allowed in at one time. The only public transportation seen were taxis. A pharmacy was open, but indicated that masks and alcohol were sold out. No food establishments were open, so thankfully I had brought some bread, water and chocolate from the village supermarket.

Tough entry controls were in operation at the train station. Access was granted solely to ticket holders and only after temperature was taken. Anyone who had his or her masks off were reminded by vigilant station staff to put them back on immediately. The waiting hall was fairly deserted and notices were up, saying that some services have been cancelled due to low traffic.A shabbily-dressed family was taken away by policemen, I suppose they were fairly poor and did not have their masks. I stayed on to wait 8 hours for my overnight train to Lanzhou. Actually I was thankful I was early, in case the official policy changed with new development, and the city was sealed off completely. A case had been confirmed in the prefecture that morning.

Last edited by beanstalk6; 03-02-2020 at 11:34 AM..
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