Carol Anne Jones
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
The Corona virus pandemic has affected pretty much everyone’s life in some way.
Since February I’ve been in a quarantined environment, have my temperature checked twice daily and have to wear a mask whenever venturing out. My cohort of Chinese Art and Design students are under the same routine and we now continue with lessons online, which has encouraged new ways of interaction. Wuhan in China of course was originally the epicenter of the Pandemic and as I write the number of cases has peaked and contained due to the extraordinary lengths the Chinese authorities have gone to, to isolate the virus.
China has more international schools than any other country in the world, and in February the local education authorities decided to close all schools and universities in order to minimize transmission opportunities. Having not experienced anything like this before, I initially thought this would be for a couple of weeks but we are now into our sixth week of online learning and the benefits are you can teach from anywhere in the world due to online technology, the only drag being the time zone differences.
China has made a great effort in enabling this to happen within a short space of time, 7000 servers capable of serving 50 million users at one time were set up to allow students a level of continuity during their absence from school. This is combined with online TV lessons that are accessible to those who don’t have computers. The sheer scale of this initiative is enormous. China has shown that even in the face of adversity they have a solution to try and make the best of the situation and I doubt any other country could put something like this together so quickly. China could do this; its technology infrastructure in most major cities is quite amazing. Because of the Great Firewall it’s not obvious to Westerners but in China apps like WeChat , WePay and Alipay are used on a daily basis and daily payments are almost cashless. Cashless transactions using a Smartphone can’t easily be accessed from outside the country, but I noticed on a recent trip to Bali that some of the Malls there accept Alipay and Wechat purely to cater for Chinese tourists.
The news in China is that the virus was predicted to peak in February and in the next month or two cases should decline. Scientists and medical professionals say the corona virus doesn’t like warmer weather so as the summer months approach it should be contained.
How ironic and bizarre now that the epicenter of the virus is Europe and that Chinese authorities are more concerned about returners to China from other countries.
Economically the Corona virus had been traumatic worldwide, and it will take some time to recover. Chinese exports apparently dropped more than 17 percent in January and February alone and now the European and U.S. economies are slowing down. The scenario put out by the United Nations predicting that a $2 trillion hit to global gross domestic product somehow now seems optimistic. This pandemic illustrates how our national borders are so interdependent and as we move into the new decade we can probably expect events like this to happen more often. Meanwhile as I continue my hibernation, it’s good to use the time to focus on things you wouldn’t normally have time to do. Stay safe everyone.