I quarantined in Beijing, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Here is what I discovered

Tokyo (CNN) – In the last 148 days, I have been about one-third of them and set myself apart. I started in Beijing and went to Hong Kong and now to Tokyo.

At each destination, I have been complaining for 14 days and taking several Covid-19 tests. Spending weeks without going out is a good idea now, just as it can be difficult and difficult to walk during a pandemic.

Asia has been able to curb the virus through these regulatory environments, international restrictions and rigorous monitoring.

East and Southeast Asia account for about a third of the world’s population and only a small percentage of the world’s deaths by Covid. By comparison, the US and Europe account for about 15% of the world’s population and account for half of the world’s deaths by Covid.

But even in East Asia, I have been facing different challenges, which gives me a chance to see how governments are trying to deal with the explosions in their own way.


In late May, a friend invited me to the market for Bein Xinfadi, the largest food market in the city. It covers more than 250 hectares, while thousands of retailers sell fresh fruit. They brought me to the best sellers and encouraged each other to take large bags of cherries, mangosteens, peaches and blueberries.

About two weeks after my visit, government officials in Beijing announced that an outbreak was being marketed on the retail market, marking the second wave of coronavirus. Later, authorities announced another “war zone” to stop the spread.

Officials used geo-gestures from mobile phones to send text messages to many who went to the market, asking them to split up. Restrictions vary, depending on the neighbors.

A city worker dressed in protective clothing came to Wang’s house to test him for coronavirus.

Selina Wang / CNN

A friend at the market with me had a front door sensor that alerted her when she opened it.

He required me to be alone for at least 14 days and take two Covid tests. My housekeepers made sure that I did not leave my room, even stepping in such as elevators or reception areas.

Towards the end of my start and end, a man in a hazmat suit came to my door to take it by the neck. Each time, the next day, I take a piece of paper under my door with the results. Twice a day, I express my warmth in my home.

Since Beijing’s birth in the summer, China has repeated the process several times to stem the tide of environmental degradation: testing millions of people in a matter of days, tight connections and selective planning.In the meantime, the idea seems to have worked, allowing life to return to normal. During the recent Golden Week holiday, more than half a billion people traveled abroad. The country also reported zero relocations in months before a number of Chinese cities – but only a few cases.After arriving in Hong Kong, Wang had to wear a bracelet.

After arriving in Hong Kong, Wang had to wear a bracelet.

Selina Wang / CNN

Hong Kong

I went to Hong Kong in early August, the “third” time of the city. The Hong Kong border is closed to almost all visitors, except the city’s citizens and those from China, Taiwan or Macau.

The Beijing flight and its aircraft were empty. When we arrived in Hong Kong, there was a long way to sign the forms, receive instructions and test Covid. I stayed at a state-run hotel for one night and left in the morning when my results came back that I had a problem.

All travelers receive a QR badge from the airport. When I arrived at my place of residence, I had to pack my bag and the app on my phone. Using data such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, the technology sends a warning to controllers if the wearer leaves the area.

The plan has raised concerns in Hong Kong, with China imposing a national security law over the summer. However Arthur Chan, CEO of SagaDigits, the company that developed the technology, said the app does not know where the user is.

“Technology recognizes space changes rather than being real,” Chan told me.

Wearers are not allowed to take the right garment at all times during the break. Violations of the law will come at a low cost: people caught breaking the rules can be fined $ 25,000 and imprisoned for up to six weeks.

Wearing a hospital-like bracelet for 14 days was a challenge, as well as difficult to wash and sleep on.

Wang was one of the passengers on Hong Kong International Airport.

Wang was one of the passengers on Hong Kong International Airport.

Selina Wang / CNN

Towards the end of my tenure, I had to re-test the Covid test. The government gives people the opportunity to have a partner remove Covid or pay for outside help.

Although it shares borders with China, Hong Kong has maintained minimal disease by avoiding the worst. It is operated by a small percentage of the virus, but has not reported more than 150 cases per day, and in the past month each day the disease falls into one category.

As in northern China, the combination of strict borders and self-regulation – combined with face masks and distance distances – has been effective.


I traveled to Tokyo from Hong Kong in late October. 72 hours before the flight, I had to prove my Covid-19 test by a doctor. Upon disembarking, the passengers were told to test the saliva. Just waiting for an hour or two, I got my bad results and can continue to move with the traditions.

Similar to my experience at Hong Kong airport, I had to write down my travel details in the program and show the QR code to the airport administrators. I also received a letter asking me to “stay close to the site for 14 days”, “to avoid contact with other people as much as possible” and “not to use public transportation.”

Wang was given this form when he arrived in Japan.

Wang was given this form when he arrived in Japan.

Selina Wang / CNN

Travelers were required to arrange their departure from the airport and book a place for other people to be placed, but after that, nothing happened: No one asked me if they gave me warmth, no one confirmed that I was staying inside and no other Covid test required before leaving.

At the airport, one document requested that the passengers add the Japanese Ministry of Health to the messaging program, which is ubiquitous in Japan. I have never been reminded to check out the app. When I opened up the conversation with the Ministry of Health, I received a number of yes-or-no questions, and it was.

Experts like Kenji Shibuya, director of the Institute of Public Health at King’s College London, said Japan’s resort to Covid-19 increases the risk of recurrence, especially as the country relaxes its borders.

Japan has had one of the world’s most drastic measures to curb the epidemic, barring almost all visitors and travelers from more than 150 countries. It is only a few months ago that Japan began to gradually reduce the rules.

“There is still a proliferation of indigenous peoples. Japan needs to promote experimentation, isolation, integration.” Shibuya said. “At the moment, the process is not really complicated.”

Although Japan has not taken any action against the rest of the world, it has managed to avoid an eruption in the event of an accident.

However, compared to China and Hong Kong, which report Covid cases a day or two in the past few months, Japan continues to report hundreds of – and soon more than 1 – new cases every day.

Shibuya says Japan has avoided taking drastic action, possibly because of pressure on the economy to move ahead of the delayed Olympics.

“They have to show that they can suppress the spread as other Asian countries have done,” Shibuya said. “They have to stop at the border and in the region – which Japan does not do.”

Japan’s law does not allow the government to establish strict rules.

Although there were restrictions that made Covid in Japan very close to the US or Western Europe, in contrast to China or Hong Kong, Japan has had less than 2,000 people killed by Covid-19.

Because of the “compulsory regulation,” the government is reluctant to enact legislation, according to Satoshi Hori, a professor at Yuntendo University and a specialist in infectious diseases. The culture of wearing masks and hygiene has also helped, he said.

Hori also said a small number in Japan who initially recognized that citizens should avoid the “Three C’s”: air-conditioned enclosures, communal housing.


Traveling around the globe during a global epidemic has been daunting and liberating. I have been talking about the virus since it started in China – where I get frequent updates from my relatives near the zero-plague in the Hubei region – until now, my worries have shifted to my family in the US.

We have all experienced the effects of hunger, fear, and depression.

Constant restrictions and directives from various countries are going head on. What is clear is that there is no magical way to get the virus vaccine before it is discovered.

Whether we live in an unrestricted area, or in a confined space, we are all learning to live in fear of Covid perhaps hiding in the next person we meet.

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