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- Le 1 avril 2020
Katherine in Shanghai: I could use my night-owl habits to the full while I worked from home
Katherine Ying Mei Jiang graduated from the IMM programme in 2015. After 4 years in Beijing where she was ambassador for the alumni chapter there, Katherine relocated to Shanghai where she is currently Innovation Product Manager - Automotive Innovation Center at Allianz Partners. She shared her analysis of the Covid-19 situation.
How was the situation managed in Shanghai?
For a better understanding of how the situation has been in Shanghai, I would like to share basic information firstly:
Shanghai population: 24.28 million (2019)
Confirmed cases as of 29 March (14:30 local time): 492, including 153 imported cases
First confirmed case in Shanghai: 16 January
Confirmed case number stable at around 300 since mid-to-late February
National holiday (Spring Festival / Lunar New Year): 24-30 January (most people travel for family reunion nationwide)
This is a map of confirmed cases in Shanghai on 29 March (bing.com/covid)
As you might have already noticed from the basic information, in a mega-city with a population bigger than some European countries (population in Shanghai would rank No.9 in European population ranking by country), when there is a massive nationwide travel about to happen due to Spring Festival, it could be catastrophic. While the situation has been relatively under control with the measurement as well as people’s reaction.
Public area being closed start from Spring Festival, more specifically, places very crowded or where one might need to remove masks, such as touristic area, gym, most restaurants and bars, etc. (started to ease since March)
Temperature check/record all people entering Shanghai since end-of-January (recently announced 100% Covid check when entering Shanghai from country/area with high confirmed case numbers)
Residence compound: Strict control of non-residence by issuing temporary entrance permit card (valid 1-day) whenever getting outside, need to submit card when back into the compound
Ask to wear mask when leaving residence
Compulsory temperature check entering shopping mall / indoor area
Health QR Code (wechat and alipay) which is created based on your travel history (green, yellow, red) – if stayed in Shanghai for the past 14 days, the QR code is green (otherwise 14-day self-confinement needed)
Recommend to work from home if possible
Staying indoor almost all the time (possible partially thanks to online in-time delivery almost 24/7 available without extra cost)
Wearing masks whenever staying outside (I personally have not found anyone without mask since late January)
The above picture dates from 23 January; an empty gym, the evening before shutdown, Shanghai Tower
(I was the only person at the office and at the gym. The Spring Festival holiday is due to start on 24 January)
What measures do you think worked the best?
I would consider “wearing mask all the time” as the most effective measure even though it is still not considered as common in Europe.
Besides, other measures including shutdown of most public area during critical weeks (mostly covering February), recommendation for work from home, etc., have been favourable to control the situation. In fact, as a newcomer (in Shanghai for less than 1 year), I was surprised by how self-disciplined people are, to keep “stay at home”. Except for a few people, there has been no friend of mine who asked for gathering, or posted outdoor pictures during critical weeks (or maybe I have too less friends here…). I was once at the riverside nearby my apartment for a walk and found out there were still not many people, even though it was already late February.
This is a picture of me by the river during a weekend, it was a sunny day but still not many people outside
How did you keep in touch with your family and friends during confinement?
As a person who has been living alone for years, I am used to being connected with people via SNS (heavy user of Wechat, Instagram, LinkedIn). But this time, it raised to a new level. I started to have daily call with family in South Korea (probably because I just came back from there, and luckily not be stuck within South Korea, my flight was before the massive outbreak in South Korea).
Besides, the situation was “helpful” to be re-connected with old friends worldwide. Some challenges on Instagram was fun, for example I was happy accepting challenge of 100 push-up (which I consider as nice way of encouraging people to exercise, interacting with friends, as well as "showing-off" your apartment new decoration).
What advice would you give to fellow alumni in France who are in their third week of lockdown?
The first thing comes to my mind is: It is okay to be a bit lazy and pause for a while, just relax and try to stay positive while focusing on yourself, things you normally do not have time to consider. I found some people used to complaining about being busy outside all the time are now complaining the opposite (me included). While as the situation is a rare chance of having sufficient reason to “be disconnected” for a while, why not do something relaxing at home, or “introspect” the past and “plan” the future – which seem to be the lifelong to-do list for most people?
What did you learn about yourself during this period?
I started to “introspect” and “plan”, or at least started to have some new perspectives.
Except for usual news/trend monitoring, there were some topics raised my curiosity, which I was not interested in before, “How is the vlog / relevant social media working in China, and what are the business models?” “What are the new product and service being successful these days?” It was also interesting that most of gyms started to have their free live-stream courses. I heard a few people taking benefits from free online university courses, unfortunately I was not hyper enough to try everything.
Due to the influence of previous and current work in automotive industry, my usual focus was mainly on the industry itself plus learning German. During this period, I had enough “excuse” and time to check other topics, which will be eventually helpful for my work as well, in terms of building innovative business models in the future.
And an obvious finding: I am a typical “owl” person who has high productivity at night, if there is no enough reason to wake up early in the morning.
How has it been going back to the office?
Always wearing mask as usual, having enough disinfection tissue and handwash liquid, etc., washing hands as frequent as possible seems to be a global rule of thumb. People are encouraged to have lunch by isolating themselves (or at least keep enough distance), which I do not see much difficulty.
In fact, most companies started to get back to office (while required to wear masks all the time). As of this week (29 March), I was at the office for 1 day. Lack of oxygen when wearing mask was indeed "problematic" - for example, I forgot to add attachment when sending an email, a mistake I have not made for years.
For me the most difficult part would be to re-adjust “owl” body schedule to “early-bird”. Thus, I bought a soymilk machine, which I can pre-set its “cooking” time for the next morning. Coffee machine would be more effective, but the cafe at the company building offers better quality.
Are there any new habits that you gained during your confinement that you will continue to use?
I consider this time as a perfect chance to get back to one’s old hobbies, or something one was good at during childhood. Even though there are not many things I did, there are still a few to mention: Re-start of reading Korean books, both literature (old-time “expertise” which I neglected for more than 10 years) and non-literature (I chose art and psychology related one). Simple cooking, which I stopped after leaving France in 2015. As well as something I planned while not yet started – drawing. For gym and other sports such as archery, I will have to restart from now on, as those places were closed before.
As a daily user of global SNS to interact with friends worldwide, people’s reaction from different countries has been reachable. Even though under confinement - an unusual situation that all of us are feeling uncomfortable from time to time, I found most of us still remaining positivity and make full use of the time as enjoyable as possible. Just like the picture, currently locked in different parts but eventually will be united at one point when the situation gets better.
Another picture of the riverside during weekend
Stay safe and best wishes from Shanghai,
29 March 2020