Health & Environment

What happens if a COVID-19 case is found in your building?

XI'AN---- A plastic rope hung from a window on the third floor of a residential building. In the garden downstairs, a man tied a courier box to the rope and the box was then pulled up.

This is a way for residents living in Unit One of Building One of Zhongjian Kaiyuan City to obtain items while the unit is blocked.

Zhongjian Kaiyuan City is a residential community located in the west of Xi'an, Shanxi province. On February 14, a resident of Unit One of Building One was found to be a suspected case of the novel coronavirus. There was a confirmed case found in the same community on February 4. 

According to the work plan of the local government on epidemic prevention and control, as long as there is one suspected case in one unit, the entire unit will be blocked for 14 days, no one can enter or leave. 

A cordon is pulled up at the entrance of the unit since the night of February 14.

The security personnel set up a simple movable boardroom out of the unit on February 15, on duty 24 hours to prevent anyone from entering and leaving at will.

If residents need daily necessities, such as vegetables and fruits, they need to ask friends or call delivery service to send the items to the property office. Staff will disinfect the items and then send them to the household door to door.

"It is really inconvenient to follow this way. We think that we can also avoid infection with our method," said Tian Mimeng, 46, who lives on the third floor of the blocked unit. She and her family camp up with a new method - using a plastic rope to 'fish' items from downstairs. 

Ms. Tian said the property office called her to collect the information and health status of her family members.

Before the unit was blocked, although there was a confirmed case in the community, residents would still go out to buy necessities or take a walk in the garden occasionally.

"I can't leave the unit at all now, I'm really bored at home," said Zhang Shanjie, 22, who lives on the 20th floor of the unit. He used to go downstairs every two days and bring water home from the automatic water purifiers in the yard and he regards this activity as a leisure during this period of time.

Mr. Zhang began to infuse the sewer with disinfectant every day since the suspected case was found in this unit. 

"I heard from the internet that the virus can spread through the sewer," said Mr. Zhang.

In the afternoon of February 18 and 19, two vans carried bagged flour and boxes parked downstairs Building One. The staff unloaded them and moved them into the movable boardroom.

Residents guess the stuff brought by the vans are the supplies distributed by the local government to express comfort, because people need vegetables and meat more than raw materials like flour and rice. The stuff hasn't been delivered to households till now.

In the unit's WeChat group, the suspected infection said she had not been confirmed to be infected for the time being, and her family has no symptoms. People in the group hope that she will be confirmed well as soon as possible, so that the blockade of the unit can be lifted as soon as possible.

 "All the residents are waiting for you to come back. It is difficult to buy food these days," a resident said in the group. 

《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) is an English news publication produced by international journalism students at Hong Kong Baptist University. It started as a printed magazine in 1969. Today, TYR is produced across different platforms.

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