Dear Access member,
Last week, several days went by with suspiciously few updates on the emerging Wuhan coronavirus epidemic, but the information floodgates opened in China over the weekend. We’ve summarized the important news in today’s newsletter.
I was living in Beijing during the SARS lockdown of 2003, and was nearly imprisoned in a hotel room after an ill-advised business trip to Shanghai. Very strange times they were, brought back by an old film by artist Ài Wèiwèi 艾未未, which you can watch on YouTube: Living it up in a zone of infection: SARS in Beijing, 2003.
You might consider postponing nonessential travel to and around China. The system built to detect SARS — essentially body temperature scanners at airports, hotels, and train stations — is already in place. If you cough at a checkpoint, or the scanner shows you have even a mild fever, you might find yourself in a very inconvenient quarantine. In Shanghai in 2003, the hotel wanted to quarantine me just because I had traveled from Beijing, even though there was no such official order.
Our word of the day is 疫情 yìqíng, which literally means “epidemic situation” but can be translated as “epidemic,” and is often used in headlines related to developing epidemics.
—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief