Vincent Pung

Beijing, China

Hey Monash! How’s it going? I hope you are all keeping safe and well, wherever you may be around the world. My name is Vincent Pung (Bachelor of Biomedical Science) and I’m currently working in Beijing at North Head, a strategic communications and public affairs consulting firm. In mid-February, when I returned to Beijing from my Melbourne home visit, I was in lock-down for two weeks before being allowed to return to work at the office.

Surprisingly, things in Beijing have been relatively safe for around four months now and most daily activities have returned to a new normal. Many epidemic prevention measures are still in place—such as temperature checks before entering buildings and shopping centres, and apps like the “Health Kit” to show that you haven’t been to high-risk epidemic areas. (No green Health Kit, no entry!). We are all back wearing masks again too.

Currently, Beijing is also testing whole neighbourhoods. Last Thursday, our neighbourhood was offering COVID-19 testing so I went and got tested. The authorities had set up a make-shift testing zone inside a school and had about 15 testing booths. It was quite the experience seeing mass testing take place. To get tested, the authorities divided us up into groups of five, and I noticed that our throat swabs were placed into the one specimen jar. That means that if anyone of us tested positive, then I assume the whole group would be considered positive and have to quarantine and re-test to see who the positive individual is. I think since they are testing so many people, they are trying to make the process more efficient.

Two weeks ago, I even got to travel domestically within China and visit tropical Sanya (the “Hawaii of China”, haha…absolutely amazing!). However, with Beijing recently reporting a new spike in COVID-19 cases, the city is on high-alert again and I’ve had to cancel future travel plans. I’m confident that the city will get things under control quickly, and I’ll be able to travel again soon! Stay safe everyone.

Vincent Pung

Image: Olympic Park Birdsnest Stadium