Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

I guess now is a good time to put aside my psychology studies, in particular my report on change blindness across three perpetual categories using the flicker effect, and give a brief update on our lives in China (sorry for neglecting this for the past few months (year)). Today we learnt that Hong Kong has closed pretty much all of its borders to China; the Shenzhen Bay crossing (road bridge) is our closest bolt point. It’s at that moment you think, oh crap, there goes most of our contingency plans which involved using the usual metro or train crossings. Days of meticulous planning and rewatching of Doomsday Preppers all down the drain! Then, in one of those moments of clarity, what does any Brit do in a moment of crisis (other then call their parents)…


So after drinking a cup of English Breakfast tea and instead of panicking and calling our local British embassy in Guangzhou we decided to stay put, or to be more accurate book a short staycation 40 minutes away by the coast in Shekou. I’ll be sure to post some pictures upon our return.

Here is our current situation in Shenzhen, China. The wife’s school broke up a day early a couple of weeks ago, just before the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year). The city had already started to show signs of thinning out has millions of people began their annual migration back to their places of birth. Shenzhen is a migrant city so approx 85% of people leave each year, a LOT. Up to that point we hadn’t really given the virus much thought other then what we’d seen on the news about Wuhan. Then came the lockdown and things sounded very serious.

Screenshot 2020-02-03 at 19.48.30

This map gives you an idea as to where we are in relation to Wuhan. For a sense of scale you could fit the UK in-between the two cities.

Since the lockdown we’ve stocked up the cupboards with plenty of food – lentils, chickpeas and rice! Additionally we sourced a number of face masks from the local chemist and sex shop (yes sex shop, kinky nurses.. In a time of crisis you have to think outside the box ;)) Lastly a few bottles of alcohol gel for keep our hands clean of diseases.

There’s not a huge lot more to keep you updated about really. We’re just making the most of the time we have in partial self isolation. My wife is writing a novel, my daughter is being a teenager and sleeping in till midday then chatting to her friends till 3am and playing fortnight . I’m spending more time on University work, which is a good thing right? The times I do go out, like today I am still amazed at how quiet everywhere is. On my walk across the top of a very tall hill I saw probably 10 people, all wearing masks which is completely normal now.

And this next bunch of pics was from another walk last week. Different place, just as quiet.

Despite the ghostly look to the pictures above there are plenty of lights on all the apartments at night time. My only guess is that people are here, they just ain’t going out much. The food situation here is good too. All the local supermarkets are stocked up with the usual stuff and essentials (except masks and hand gel). Starbucks remain open for shorter hours though some are closed in quieter locations. All online deliveries, food or Taobao cannot come direct to the door anymore so you have to meet them outside the apartment (first world issues) where we have our temperature checked every time we pass the gates!

For now we’ll stick it out and see what happens. There isn’t a sense of mass panic going off however we are not in Wuhan where things appear a little more dire. Hopefully the number of people contracting the virus will begin to subside soon and life can begin to get back to normal. Well as normal as it can be for a British family living in Shenzhen, China!

For more information about 2019-nCoV please check the WHO website at

This website gives daily info on the virus ( Chinese only – use google translate)


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