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WSJ reporter records her life in China amid outbreak, calls Beijing “the safest place on earth”

By Xian Jiangnan (People's Daily Online)    21:19, April 02, 2020

An American reporter in Beijing recently showed her new way of life in China during the epidemic, noting that Beijing is adjusting to a new normal that makes it possibly the safest place on earth.

In a video posted on Wall Street Journal’s website entitled “Coming out of Coronavirus lockdown”, Julie Wernau, a former Beijing-based WSJ reporter, indicated that Beijing is emerging from a roughly two-month coronavirus lockdown, something that forced her to change her daily routine amid the epidemic.

There’ s a lot of things Julie does every day to protect herself. Other than frequent hand washing with soap and water as well as keeping a hand sanitizer in her front pocket, masks have truly become a daily part of her routine, which, Julie said, could prevent her from touching her face and protect other people from her.

“The idea behind it is if everyone wears one, everyone's protected, so the government in Beijing has mandated that anyone in public wear a mask,” she said.

It is worth mentioning that when she touches the things that she must outside, including things such as elevator buttons, she always does it very mindfully. According to Julie, people have been using basically anything to isolate themselves from actually touching things such as elevator buttons, innovatively using things such as toothpicks, tissues and sometimes even elbows.

Other than this, she has opted to commute to work by means of walking and even sometimes by biking all in order to keep away from crowds. Every time she returns home, she would take off all of her clothes and then put on clean indoor clothes.

The video shows that many public places have also adopted new rules. The community she lived in enacted some serious restrictions. In fact, only people who live in her apartment complex are allowed inside up even until now. At the entry of her office building, temperature checks and registration have become a mandatory procedure.

In restaurants, even though there are tables open, customers often have to wait until more people leave the restaurant. At grocery stores, when people are queuing, everyone stands a meter apart from each other.

Julie pointed out in the video that although a lot of these measures feel quite restricting and stressful, in fact it seems that the people of Beijing are adjusting to a new normal. People are figuring out how to get on with their lives while still protecting themselves. Through her camera lens, it can be seen that local people were seen enjoying the flowers, walking and exercising in the parks.

“A couple of weeks ago, if you walked outside of Beijing, there was basically nobody out there, but just recently we've seen people coming back out and the city is showing signs of life.”

“With Beijing having fewer and fewer cases, it does make me feel like at least for a time, I am possibly living in the safest place on earth,” she said.

At present, Julie has returned to the US after the Chinese government revoked the press credentials of more than a dozen American journalists in March as part of countermeasures in response to the unreasonable oppression Chinese media organizations are experiencing in the US at present. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)

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