Nautilus

A Vision of Our Post-Lockdown Future

Xu Jiao was anxious to get back in the gym. Living in Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province, she had gone through two months of lockdown. The pandemic hadn’t been particularly bad in the city. To date there have been 144 confirmed cases and three deaths, according to official statistics. Still, as with much of China, the lockdown had been severe. Almost everything had been closed and Xu Jiao, in her mid-30s, had to show a pass at the gates of her residential community every time she wanted to leave her apartment building. She would have her temperature checked upon leaving and returning, which would be logged by the security guards.

China is sometimes said to offer a glimpse of the West’s post-lockdown future. Xu Jiao’s life is now back to normal. A committed athlete, she works out every morning for a few hours at her local gym. While the rest of the economy in Chengdu had slowly started to open back up in the first weeks of March, it was only in mid-April that gyms were allowed to start again. But there are differences. The staff at the gym all wear masks. Cleaners disinfect the equipment regularly. People have to bring their own towels. When Xu Jiao enters the gym, she said, “They usually check my Health Code, and they always take my phone number and government ID, as well as my temperature.”

Anyone showing a yellow code in public is sent home.

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