Monitor your movements, avoid human contact and detect if you should be subjected to a medical quarantine: the mobile phone has become an almost more mandatory tool if possible in a China that is beginning to see a possible end to the coronavirus pandemic.
In many places and even in entire neighborhoods, it is necessary to scan a quick recognition code (QR) to be able to pass an access control: the phone will display a message that, in the eyes of the authorities, will certify that the carrier has not been outside of Beijing in the last 15 days.
Or at least, it will certify that this mobile phone – increasingly an appendix of the body – has not been. If it had been, and according to the new regulations, the owner of the device should be in quarantine and, therefore, would be prohibited from staying outside the place designated for it.
The scanning of the code can be done through WeChat (the Chinese WhatsApp), the mobile messaging application that also serves as a social network as an electronic payment system, among many other uses.
When scanning the code, a form appears asking for the name, telephone number, passport number and nationality to be detailed, before accepting and obtaining the “digital passport” that allows the holder of the telephone to go to dinner or drink a coffee.
NEW SANITARY GUIDELINES
“They asked us to start applying the regulations on March 17,” the manager of a central Beijing café, who prefers to remain anonymous, explains to Efe. “If customers don’t have the proper code, we won’t let them in. It has already happened to a couple of groups of Chinese who came from Shanghai.”
In the event that the client passes the procedure, the staff of the premises will take the temperature and, if it is less than 37.3 degrees, they will proceed to register on a list that the source has to keep as a client registry in case that the Government wants to examine them, or in case a contagion is detected, in order to locate potential infected.
If, for example, a person has run out of battery in the phone, or without the internet, and even if he does not carry the device, the guards at the checkpoint will not allow the individual to enter the premises, as Efe could verify in the entrance to an outdoor one that has banking, cafeteria and restaurant services.
Thus, the telephone becomes an essential tool when it comes to aspiring to return to normality in China in the times of the coronavirus.
The access scan is not limited to some bars, restaurants and cafes in the city, but also to entire areas, such as in the artistic district 798 of the Chinese capital.
In addition, for the Chinese from more than 300 cities, including Hangzhou or Shanghai (both in the east of the country) or Wuhan – focus of the pandemic – it is necessary to have a “green code” on the mobile phone that can be obtained from through various mobile applications such as WeChat.
This code will allow easy access to places and services, such as the bus, the subway, the supermarket or even libraries, which gradually reopen their doors in some parts of the country.
“The other day,” a Chinese woman in her thirties living in Shanghai tells Efe, “I was finally able to go to the library to return several books that I had borrowed before the confinement began.”
The woman details that she had to make an appointment to go to the building – since they limit the number of visitors to avoid human contact – and obtain a new green code on the spot in access control to demonstrate that her status as a healthy citizen was updated.
Green means that you can continue to live a practically normal life and use all public services; yellow implies a quarantine of seven days, and red, a fourteen.
To achieve one of these codes, you must answer questions such as whether you have been in the affected areas in the last 14 days, if you have been in contact with infected people or if symptoms related to the disease have developed.
FORCED TO REPORT THEIR LOCATION
Mobile tracking does not end there, but several Chinese and foreign workers consulted by Efe, from both local and foreign companies, reported that every day -some, several times a day- they have to send their superiors their location in real time, to that these verify that your employee has not left the city and, therefore, should not be quarantined.
Apart from all these measures, and to avoid contact, masks and prudential distances are added to the farewell to coins and bills, compensated with another extra dose of mobile.
Some workers in shops, restaurants or park ticket offices reject the payment in cash, to minimize the risk of contagion when coming into contact with a possible infected surface.
Payment will thus be made through platforms such as WeChat Pay or Alipay, which allow this type of operation without any commission. In this way, it will also be recorded what is paid, to whom, when and where.
In coronavirus China, life fits in your pocket these days.