Feb 12th

The end of my trip.

Today should have seen me return to the UK as originally planned, the end of my break with me returning to work tomorrow. Instead I remain in lock down here in Hefei with security measures being heavily updated, controls regarding leaving the community have tightened significantly. A pass is now required upon entry and exit and it entitles one designated person per residence to leave the community walls once every two days to get food and water. Anyone without the pass is not allowed to enter. James is our designated resident, and rather fortunately, Steve left to stay with family outside of Hefei before this restriction was imposed. These updated measures comes after the recent news of the virus being discovered in a neighbouring community, so far no cases have been discovered in ours. This now means that I am officially isolated to within the walls of the community, not really a surprise as the situation has developed and to be honest, it’s much safer within the walls than out.

As of today, it is now reported that there are a total of nine confirmed cases of the virus within the UK. It is clear from what I can see on social media that the public are very concerned about it, and that there are more serious rumours flying about now than the jokes and sarcasm seen in previous weeks. Some are calling for a complete block on flights from China, regardless of who might be stuck here and others still seem more concerned about catching the virus from a Chinese take away. It’s a strange feeling, of course I want to return to the UK as soon as I can to avoid getting even more caught up in this than I already am, but the potential reaction of people if I do return is unsettling.

As for our day to day life at the moment, we are obviously remaining indoors most of the time, only venturing outside to run and to collect deliveries. Running is certainly keeping us physically and mentally fit, and the confused look of the locals always offers some light entertainment. Inside the flat is like a time warp, I still put my watch on every morning but in all honestly, I have no idea why. Things are getting tough mentally, the situation is beginning to grind both of us down and as a result even deciding what to watch on Netflix or what to eat seems impossible. It’s a really strange sensation, there is nothing to do and nothing to be done about it. Writing this piece is certainly helping focus my mind and gives a place for thoughts to be shared as well as rationalising the situation. I’ve also been reading some books I brought with me, something I don’t make enough time for at home, the strange combination of Peter Crouch’s How to Be A Footballer and Anne Frank’s Diary has certainly been an interesting combination.

Coco, our resident quarantine support cat, is also keeping us entertained and doing well. It’s definitely helping having someone in the flat who is not bothered by anything other than when they will be fed. Thankfully cat food and supplies along with human groceries are available for delivery still, they can be collected at the gate without having to leave the walls of the community. As we settled down for the evening still struggling to decide what to watch, Netflix is still adamant that it suggest we watch, “How To Stop A Pandemic”, think we’ll give that a miss, for now.

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