'It will get better': Canadian in China shares glimpse of life on other side of COVID-19 curve
TORONTO -- While Canada continues to grapple with increasing rates of COVID-19, China’s official tally shows the number of new cases dropping dramatically since its peak in February and a sense of normalcy returning.
Liam Mather lives with his girlfriend in Beijing where they have been in self-imposed quarantine since Feb. 1. During their eight weeks in isolation, Mather said they have been able to establish a “fulfilling” routine.
“We started to cook from home, work from home, work out within our house, China has a very advanced mobile and delivery infrastructure so we’ve been ordering most of our groceries in,” he told CTV’s Your Morning on Friday.
“We haven’t seen anyone else in eight weeks.”
While certain elements of his extended isolation have been “tough,” Mather said there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
“I think the whole world will need to be vigilant for the next little while, but certainly through aggressive social distancing and other policy tools, I think a semblance of normality can be achieved and I think that’s what’s starting to happen here,” he said.
Restaurants and bars are re-opening and workers are beginning to head back to the office; however, Mather said, while the domestic outbreak seems to have been contained, there are still concerns that travellers from abroad will import cases back in to China.
In recent weeks, China has announced expanded border controls and restrictions on travellers entering the country to prevent a second wave of infections.
The Toronto man said the whole experience has shown him that people are able to adapt to their new realities.
“I think it’s provided an opportunity to just slow down, pursue hobbies that previously you didn’t have time for, connect with people that maybe you were too busy to connect with in the past,” he said.
“We’ve tried to make the most of it.”
As for when he will head back to the office himself, Mather said he’s still a bit “nervous,” but he’s planning to go back in after another week or two.
With Canada’s total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rising to more than 4,000 this week, Mather said Canadians can learn from China’s experience.
“In China, through the collective efforts of people here and through policies that were eventually implemented, the outbreak was contained and I’m confident that Canadians in Canada can see this through as well,” he said.
When asked if he had any advice for Canadians, Mather kept it simple.
“First, it will get better. Second, look out for each other,” he said. “I think Canadians really have an opportunity to come together and help out their communities.”