Disease outbreak in China

Hi all,

I hope you're all doing well despite the recent news. I am writing to let you know we, at Expat.com, have written a little guide on what to do when there is a disease outbreak in your host country.

We would very much like to hear from you. How are you dealing with the situation as an expat in China? Are you worried? How has life been since the outbreak?

Please do let us know and we could include your little testimony (even anonymously) in our next piece!

Thanks again and don't hesitate to get back to us with any thoughts or suggestions you may have.


Hi, I'm expat in Shanghai. The situation is not that bad as described on media. Everyone here is practising good precaution with mask everywhere they go, the government also enforce a longer Chinese New Year holiday until Feb 10 to corporates and Feb 17 on schools. Though the rising number to 15k confirmed patient up to date sounds very serious, but we must know that the influenza is happening worldwide every day.

Hello, this is Amy at Zhongshan, Guangdong.  I live in a gated community.  They check my temperature at the gate when I go in/out occasionally for necessities.  I get screened at the entrances of shopping centers.  I see store staffs spray on each other sanitizer and wipe rails and handles.   All business are taking great caution. 
Too bad we are in China now, lucky that we are not in Wuhan.  I'm very proud of the folks here taking care of the community diligently.  I pray for people suffering and in stress.  It's going to be Okay.  Looking forward to the turning point, though I know it's not going to be too soon.  My personal guess is maybe by the end of March?

My wife and our two year old went back for Spring Festival on January 20th.  By Jan.  23th the shyt had hit the fan with the Virus being the main news.  Instead of the fun time she was expecting, she was locked down in her village.  The village leader used a car to block the only driveway in, but she convinced him to let her out, so she could get back to her condo in civilization. 

Once there we scrambled for a ticket.  She had no masks but was able to find some I had left behind a couple years ago.  The risk was either stay in her Condo and hope they dont get infected or attacked by desperate hordes eventually, or get on a packed train and take a packed plane back to the US and risk infection amongst so many people. 

I convinced her to return.  She almost missed her train as her city of 1 million people had no taxis by then and the busses and the rest had stopped running.  Every day is important as things were getting shut down all the time.  But she made it.  Luckily the high speed train was mostly empty with no one in the rows in front or in back of her. 

Unfortunately the planes to the US were packed. 

My friend and I donned full bunny suits, gloves, masks, and goggles to pick her up at the airport.  And this is for someone not expected to be infected, and who had gone no where near Wuhan or Hubei province.  But better to be safe.  We stuck her in our downstairs apartment for 2 weeks, while I left food outside the door and lived in the rest of the house.  I worked nights to avoid infecting workmates in case I got infected picking them up at the airport.  My friend who drove also self-quarantined for 2 weeks.  But we all came through OK so far.  If 14 days is correct, it is all good.  But recent reports put the incubation period as potentially longer, so we shall see.  We got them back on January 28th.

Thank you all for your responses and be safe out there!


Dear expats,

We are a mixed family from Hungary and Catalonia with a 3 year old child and we are expecting our second baby to arrive in September. My husband has been offered a job as a fencing trainer in Beilun neighbourhoods, Ningbo city.
We should travel late June. I'm quite worried, both because of the virus and arriving there 7 month pregnant with a young child, giving birth there. I'm afraid that both my son and our yet unborn will not be safe. I'm worried about being attended by an unknown health system.
I would really appreciate opinions, recommendations.

Thank you,


There is an American with a Chinese wife and 3 year old who posts YouTube videos from Ningbo.  Lookup Jayoe Nation to see their life.  Currently they ran away from Ningbo and finished up their 2 week self-quarantine in the US. 

We had our baby in Guangzhou.  The hospital systems in China are not geared toward individual care, and instead have to process a ton of people.  Our small hostpital room (about the size of a hotel room),  had 4 new moms in it, along with 4 crying babies, and 4 dads or motherinlaws who were there most the time.  We were in there for like 6 days with my wife being unable to leave the hallway and me fetching food back and forth. 

It was even difficult to find a hospital to let us have the baby, as they all wanted to only deliver to patients who they had given all the tests in the months before to.  It is likely better to have it the baby in Europe. 

I would not expect Wuhan virus to be less in June.  Consider carefully.

Until today, The novel coronavirus  pneumonia is under control. except Wuhan need more focus.
Unfortunately, South Korea, Japan begin pandemic...

Thank you so much for your reply. I will check the youtube site you've recommended and we will definitely consider well our travel.
Since you have had a baby in China, were you in the hospital for 6 days because that's the normal procedure? Were you allowed to have visitors? Did the doctors speak English?
Thank you again!

The nurses did not speak English.  I was in the Hospital with my wife for 6 days, but I was allowed to come in and out.  She was not.  I would go fetch her food and stuff.  6 days was about normal.  We had no complications and did not have a C-Section. 

The baby delivery is very different from the US.  The husband cannot be in the same room.  He cannot cut the cord.  It is not a private room and there likely shall be other girls in there who you can see as they scream while having a baby.  The nurses were nice enough, but the delivery room is locked down from outsiders.  Anyone coming in to visit needs to pass hallway security, so not too many others shall come in besides the allowed 1 person (usually the husband or mother in law) each. 

If the wife needs something, the husband has to get it.  If bottles need filled with water and formula, that is the Dads job.  The nurses shall teach a bit of how to swaddle (wrap up) your kid like a burrito, and how to change a diaper, but many things might seem dangerous to the western views (for example the swaddling had lots of shoelace type strings which made my mind scream danger!  danger!  ). 

1 day before the baby came out we still did not have a hospital lined up.  All we went to told us no, they only take those they gave tests to for the past 6 months or so.  You could potentially get one of 8 tickets a day they offer in the morning in order to have your baby, but those are gathered up by scalpers and sold for profit if you can find the scalper.  We arrived a half hour before they opened and the line was humongous to get appointments. 

A private room is an option but you need to book it 1 year in advance, which is funny since pregnancy only lasts 9 months. 

The hospital geared primarily towards having babies had no English birth certificates or options for English names.  The hospital we chose when my wife went into labor did and was the most advanced.  The others were quite dirty with black stuff on the walls, and this is in Guangzhou, a first tier city. 

They initially told my wife in labor No, they wont let her have the baby there, until they saw her husband was a white guy, then they let us in.  I had studied how to deliver a baby just in case I had to do it in the hotel room. 

China has a culture of having the wife rest for 1 month after a baby comes out, often this is in a special hotel with a nurse who can feed and change the baby for you.  We did not do this, but it is common in parts of East Asia. 

Costs were not bad at all, at least.  China has a lot of C-Sections for various reasons (some we would consider trivial, such as having the kid in the year of the Dragon instead of the Year of the whatever). 

Currently hospitals in China look deadly in areas where the Wuhan virus is prominent.  I would expect this to be worse by June and potentially it could affect Ningbo.  In our more modern hospital we chose there was one hallway devoted to infectious diseases.  This small, long hallway was packed with patients, waiting to pay or get seen or whatever.  It looked like an extremely bad idea to have so many people in one hallway devoted to infectious diseases.  And this was before the current Crisis. 

Good Luck!

some of what you said was not the fact

Could you specify, please?
Maybe you have a different experience?

With things opening back up a little, we go out to pick strawberries in AnHui province...

Thanks for the information

Covid-19 is under control in china, But it is still need more time to open school

I am a Chinese native from Qingdao. A few infected were found here, but it seems the most people around me are not nervous at it, except my wife......:)I can drive to anywhere, my office, supermarkets, banks etc., and temperature testing and visiter registration must be done everytime, so I know how exactly hot I am today, 35.9-36.5°C, and my handwriting is getting better........

Of course they are very import that wearing a facemask, hand cleaning and keeping at least 1m away from others.

In china, the breakout of covid-19 almost finished, anyway there are still couple of input Cases, since the covid-19 is pandamic around the work, we still need wear mask, social-distance, and no unnecessary travel and stay home.

Wishes the covid-19  is over ASAP

There is a firestorm brewing. The entire world is furious.


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This is early May: folks living in Shanghai could you kindly provide some thoughts with respect to lifestyle & current people sentiment ?
Are the hospitals getting free-Er?

Can anyone recommend a good news paper where I can read developments?

China Daily is a better choice to see the updated status of COVID-19 in CHina

I am in China now, and I have to say that China is indeed a magical place. I am very lucky that I am in China.

Charlesguo wrote:

Until today, The novel coronavirus  pneumonia is under control. except Wuhan need more focus.
Unfortunately, South Korea, Japan begin pandemic...

26 February 2020 10:54:17

Sorry, what was that?

Dolphynn wrote:

Unfortunately the planes to the US were packed.

Well, a story or few followed that.
I have to admit a grim level of amusement when reading posts from the time and comparing them to official accounts.


You are so right, the official reports are nothing like what people like to post here.  LOL

Here in Jilin Province as of today May 18, 2021, we are finally making some progress on getting a date when our foreign teachers can get vaccinated.  We have been waiting for this news now for 2 months.  Yesterday due to emergency circumstances ONLY one of my teachers has been approved and he got his first shot.  We hope in 3 weeks he will get the 2nd because he is set to fly home the end of June.  We can get him home...that isn't the issue, we don't know if we can get him back here. 

We have been virus free for a while and things are slowly coming back to a new normal.  We still can't hire new teachers from outside of China, and finding teachers who are in China and want to come here isn't easy. 

I have many "students" who would like to work but we can't hire them because we can't change the visa status from student to working ( there are a few exceptions but they are very rare).  We recently learned it is possible to convert a humanitarian visa to a work visa and in some instances we can change a spouse visa to a working visa but it's rare.

For now we are recommending if you don't need to leave China stay put, if you do need to leave make sure you fully comprehend the policies for returning from your country as each country has different rules right now.  One more thing, just because you can go home doesn't mean you can come back, so when you go home pack what you most care about just in case!

That is all I know as of today, tomorrow things can change...LOL

How is it going over there in Chengdu? I am a foreign teacher hoping to enter China for new term starting August. What are the possibilities judging by the never-ending pandemic swallowing the entire world right now?
Ive got my PU letter and work permit. Seems like the Z visa is a difficult document to obtain now huh

Not sure about Chengdu but where I am in Jilin we still can't hire from outside of China and now a new wrinkle has appeared for ALL of China.  Now anyone coming to China from abroad must get pre-approval from the Chinese embassy where they live before you can even buy a ticket to come.  The papers you will need are numerous and it's NOT just a PU letter anymore.  Teaching is NOT essential so don't think because you were able to get a letter of invite or PU letter that means you can come.  Now you have several more hoops to jump. 

I currently have a teacher with a 3 year work visa and he must go home to the US to deal with family business, getting him back to the US has been an ordeal of paperwork and tests.  He had to be vaccinated before going because China will ONLY accept the Chinese vaccine, however once he is back in the US he will get the US vaccine...we have no idea if that is good or bad.  Then his biggest issue at this point is can he afford the flight back, it has to be direct and there are very few of those, he now needs pre-approval which may not happen, and once he can get back he will need to quarantine in Shanghai (his point of arrival) for we think 14 to 21 days (he has to pay for that himself) and then once he has done that he will quarantine again for 2 more weeks here in Changchun.  We have no idea why if he has had the vaccine the purpose of said restrictions but he will need to take several COVID tests and all of that costs money.  So unless you have funds up the wahzoo coming to China right now probably not a good choice. 

On the other hand, if you are currently here in China and wish to change locations that can be done.  If your current employer will release you then a new employer can hire you, but it's tricky.  Agents may not be a good resource to use, be careful, and employers are not always well informed about the rules.  You really need to know what is true and what is not true and that is hard because each Province is different.  We are releasing a teacher to a new employer in Shanghai and their procedure is not at all like the one we do in our Province.  Also recently we found out that in our area we can as of now flip a student visa to a work visa if certain circumstances exist.  It is not common and it is very hard still to do.  We are doing it for a teacher who has been with us for over a year, but it was just recently that we could even submit her paperwork.  Work visas are tricky and you need to be very informed.

COVID has changed everything and who knows when or if things will get better.  For now we are living with this new norm but it's not easy as the employer or the employee.  My advice, if you are in China and want to remain then stay put and don't travel at this time.  If you are not in China you may need to wait and find something else in the meantime.

If I am not able to enter China, do you guys think online learning is supported in China? I may have to wait until a green light is given then. Sooner or later China will have to relax the border regardless the pandemic is slowing down or even getting worse. We just have to live the norm now, changes are inevitable. They cant close the border forever

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