Shanghai currently has 24 countries designated as high-risk. Anyone returning to Shanghai from these countries – including merely transiting in an airport – or who has been to any of the countries in the previous 14 days will be required to follow strict new rules on arrival back in the city. That includes a 14-day quarantine either at an approved hotel or at home. If you prefer home quarantine, you will need to take a COVID-19 test and wait for the results before being allowed to head home. Here’s how it all goes down.

The Airport

  • When you land, your plane will be boarded by health officials who will either process you on the plane, or invite you to enter the airport to go through the immigration process.

  • You will have your temperature taken multiple times, and each person is questioned to ascertain where they have been.

  • If you’re from the 24 countries on the high-risk list (see below) you will be given a yellow sticker. If you’re not, your sticker will be green. If it’s green, you’re free to go home.

  • Those with symptoms will receive a red sticker and medical attention.

  • Those with a yellow sticker will be sent into a new line where they need to locate the counter for their district.

  • You will be processed by nurses and police from the district you live in, and directed to a bus which takes returnees to their local testing center.

  • You may have to wait a few hours until a bus comes, and once on board may need to wait a few hours for other returnees, so bring water and snacks as they are not provided on the bus.

The Testing Center

  • The process at the testing center is slow, and can take many hours, so once again stock up on water and snacks.

  • Once inside, you will be seated and registered and complete your COVID-19 tests one by one, which simply requires a swab of the back of the throat. No blood is taken.

  • You will need to wait 8-12 hours for the result to come back.

  • Depending on your area, you will either be taken by bus to a designated hotel to wait for the results, or you will be made to stay in a room in the testing center, sometimes alone and sometimes with others.

  • You will also have to pay for your own food – you cannot order food, but can eat anything you brought in with you. Others in your group may be sent to hotels where they will have their own room and free food.

  • Once results come back, you will be notified if you are approved for home quarantine. You may not hear at the same time, so don’t get nervous about not receiving your results when others have.

  • You may also receive calls from your landlord, neighborhood committee and local police during this period as they will be notified of your travel history.

  • Once your entire group has been processed, you will need to wait for a bus to come and take you home. You cannot freely travel home, whatever your test result, and it may be a few hours for a bus to be available.

  • You will be signed off under strict quarantine conditions to the nurse in charge of the bus before being dropped off at home.

At Home

  • You will be met by a neighborhood committee member, or the security staff will have been told prior about your arrival.

  • If you live alone and your neighborhood committee deems your home satisfactory, you can quarantine there.

  • If you have family or roommates at home, you can only quarantine there if everyone in your household also agrees to quarantine.

  • You will be visited by officials who will have forms for you to sign regarding your quarantine after they explain the rules.

  • You need to take your temperature twice a day and remain inside for the entire 14 days.

  • You can order food and other deliveries online, and they will be delivered outside your door by volunteers or other staff, which will probably be organized through a WeChat group set up by officials.

  • You must inform officials if any symptoms arise.

  • A magnetic device may be installed outside your door which will notify officials when it is opened. If that is the case, you will need to notify them in your WeChat group when you need to open the door.

In a Hotel

  • If you can’t or don’t want to quarantine at home, or don't want to undergo the process of getting a COVID-19 test, you will need to choose from designated hotels.

  • You need to cover the cost yourself, with prices ranging from RMB200-400 per night.

  • You will have to pay for set food that will be delivered to your room three times a day. You cannot make requests and you cannot order any outside food.

  • You will not be allowed to leave your hotel room for two weeks.

  • You will need to take your temperature twice a day and notify officials about any symptoms, usually via a WeChat group they will set up.

How Do You Know When It’s Over?

  • Officials will help you work out your quarantine dates, and take the time you spent in quarantine waiting for your test results into account.

  • You will not be able to leave home without another official procedure at the end of your quarantine, so wait to be contacted by officials, even if the day your quarantine ends has arrived.

The List of 24 High-Risk Arrival Countries

  • South Korea

  • Italy

  • Iran

  • Germany

  • France

  • USA

  • Spain

  • UK

  • Switzerland

  • Sweden

  • Netherlands

  • Belgium

  • Norway

  • Denmark

  • Austria

  • Australia

  • Malaysia

  • Greece

  • Czech Republic

  • Finland

  • Qatar

  • Canada

  • Saudi Arabia

  • Philippines

Good Luck!

[Cover image via Pixabay]


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