Emergency lockdown? Make the best of it!

Many people in Shanghai might have experienced emergency lockdown amid the recent resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether at office, home, dormitory, hotel, mall, or even in a Buddhist temple, the Shanghainese have made their quarantine time colorful, instead of fear, and enjoy the special time with families, colleagues or even strangers.

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"If a 48-hour office lockdown is a short break of your daily life, then a 14-day lockdown in office could be an unforgettable life experience," said Derek, a staff member of Weekend Hotels, a hotel-booking app.

The company, in a four-story building of a compound, was locked down as an infected person worked in the same building.

"We were required to work from home on March 3, but on the next day, we were informed to return to the office before 4:30pm to get the nucleic acid test."

At first, he was told they would be confined to office for two days and then stay at home for 12 days, with temperature checked and reported daily.

"I brought pajamas and daily necessaries for two days. My company bought sleeping bags for us. It was still a little cold at night, and the compound provided some heaters to help," said Derek.

"It was a night of fun, instead of fear, and most of my colleagues were excited."

However, sleeping at office was not as good as he had imagined.

The sleeping bag is not thick enough, lying on it is no different from sleeping on the floor. Worse, many people snored, making it hard to fall in sleep.

Later they were informed that it would be a 14-day quarantine, rather than a normal 48-hour lockdown.

"I'm most worried about sleep and how to shower in office during such a long period," he told Shanghai Daily.

The whole office covers about 600 square meters, but over 70 people needed to share it during the quarantine.

The company bought camp beds, divided the office into different areas and transformed the passage between elevators into bedrooms for those who are really sensitive to sleeping environment.

On the third day of quarantine, the compound built a temporary shower room.

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The camp beds in a sleeping area of the office

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Some office workers put the mattress in middle of the desks to get a separate area.

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A temporary shower room

Derek said the most memorable moment was doing cleaning with colleagues.

"Living together and showering together have reminded me of my college years," he said.

"We even have duty roster to keep our office tidy – 15 people on duty each day.

"We do the cleaning in the morning, noon and evening, and our boss volunteered to clean the toilet," Derek said. "Our office has never been before so clean."

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The boss of the company volunteers to clean the toilet.

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The quarantine time has never been boring – the cooking enthusiasts prepared fried eggs and bread in the morning and made dumplings after work.

After dinner, the company's fitness fanatics led their colleagues to do exercise in office.

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Derek and his colleagues make dumplings during the quarantine.

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Ready-to-eat breakfast

"I cannot go home for 14 days, so there's a lot to worry about, like how my parents and kids are doing," Derek said.

"However, all the people here do their best to help."

Roses were delivered on International Women's Day.

People in the opposite building posted comforting words on their windows.

Other companies in the compound sent gifts to encourage them.

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A birthday party in the office during quarantine

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A wish card from other companies in the compound

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People in the opposite building post encouraging words on the windows.

Derek has some advice for people in a long lockdown.

Emergency lockdown? Make the best of it!

"The most difficult thing in the office is to do the laundry, so you'd better prepare some disposable underwear and socks. The pillow and blanket are necessary for a 14-day office lockdown, as well as your daily necessities such as towel and skin-care products."

Besides businesses, many universities in Shanghai were also under quarantine. However, students make ways of having fun.

At the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts in Songjiang District, the boys sang the popular song "Old Boys" on their balconies to the girls in the other building.

The impromptu concerts have also popped up at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Shanghai University, including violin and viola ensembles.

"We are not worried about the campus lockdown," said 28-year-old Zarkamol Munisov, from Uzbekistan, working on his PhD on global studies at College of Liberal Arts, Shanghai University.

The campus is divided into north, west and main campuses on Yanchang Road, Jing'an District. The students can move freely in each area, playing games and dining together.

Is there anything difficult under a campus quarantine?

Munisov joked that it must be the meal box of the canteen.

Some of his schoolmates do not like the food, but soon they were allowed to order the food.

"I ordered cooking ingredients when the delivery was allowed," he said.

"Some students who had lived off campus had to come back to the dormitory for the lockdown, and there's no cooker in their dormitories, so we are sharing the pots and utensils with them," he said. "It's fun to cook and dine together."

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Pasta cooked by Zarkamol Munisov during quarantine

He said he did a lot of knitting during quarantine. "I bought the knitting materials before the Spring Festival, learning online during the holiday. The needlework and knitting have became a new stress-reliever for me, which had been cooking before."

He showed me a lot of his knitting works, and he even made a waistcoat for his PhD supervisor as a gift.

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Zarkamol Munisov showcases his knitting skills.

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Zarkamol Munisov's knitting work

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A waistcoat knitted by Zarkamol Munisov

A list for necessities for an emergency 14-day quarantine

Based on Derek and Munisov's advice, we prepared a list for necessities for an emergency lockdown in office.

1. Pillow and quilt

It's cold at night. A quilt or blanket is necessary.

2. Washbasin and towel

For a long quarantine, a washbasin really helps, especially when there is no private bathroom.

3. Slippers

Put a pair of slippers in your office, making your life more comfortable.

4. Personal necessities

They are very important, such as your daily medication, contact lens solution, dental-care tools and sanitary napkins.

5. Skin-care products and face masks

Prepare a set of your daily skin-care products in your office (enough for 14 days). Alcohol pads and paper towels can help for self-protection. Have enough face masks.

6. Disposable underwear and socks

It's difficult to wash and dry your clothes in office, so you'd better prepare some disposable underwear and socks.

7. Power bank and charging cables

There might be no power plugs for your phone in the sleeping area.

8. Headphones

Listening to music helps you fall asleep fast.

9. Hobbies

If you have a fitness habit or some other hobbies, prepare some small gym equipment or handwork materials in your office, to relieve the anxiety during the lockdown.

10. Induction cooker and pot

Do some cooking or have a hotpot with friends when you are tired of takeaway foods.