Leave China or Stay - Coronavirus | Healthy Shenzhen

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Stay or Leave China: 

Questions to Ask

This Coronavirus Epidemic can be overwhelming... and one of the biggest decision is whether to stay put or temporarily get out of China.

Leaving brings its own difficulties and uncertainties yet staying brings a heightened risk of getting ill. If you were to get sick in China, don't deny that your care won't be as good as their healthcare system is overwhelmed. The China's death rate is higher than elsewhere.

Perspective is also important, the seasonal flu causes tens of thousands of deaths each year. Over 22 million Americans caught influenza in the last 4 months alone, and 12,000+ died. Yet, we hear little of this yearly pandemic.


Here are some questions to consider collected by Expats - both who stayed and left.

 Don't make a poor decision based on fleeting emotions,  

 Make a wise decision based on logic and plans. 

Questions to ask yourself about Staying in China

Are you healthy?

Do you have extra risk factors? 

Young and healthy people are better able to fight off this virus, but if you are older or have health conditions, particularly any condition that affects your lungs or heart, you should give extra thought to considering leaving. 

Smokers also have a higher death rate which may help explain why China has been hit hard.

Do you have valid health insurance? 

Has your country advised citizens to leave?

If you get sick, from Coronavirus or something else, will your treatment be covered?


If your country of citizenship has declared travel restrictions, that can invalidate some health insurance policies. Read the terms of your health insurance policy. If unsure, ask your company.


Are you stocked up with supplies? 

Do you have enough masks, hand sanitizer, food-you-like, toilet paper, cash?


There is already shortages, hoarding and scarcity of some items is likely to continue as supply chains are interrupted. 

Can you handle the drama? 

There are a LOT of scandalous, jaw-dropping conspiracy theories floating around social media and the internet. Some are likely true, but not all.

Can you handle it? Can your friends and family outside of China handle it or will you just be doing 24-hour panic control?

If staying, try to limit your news intake to maybe twice a day, and be selective in reading  WeChat groups, reddit and similar.

What is your cut-off?

If you're planning to stay, write a list about what would make you change your mind. This can help you avoid panic decision making.

Planning out an action plan can help both you and family / friends abroad stay calm.

Questions to ask yourself about Leaving China

Where would you go?

Will you be Quarantined?

Some countries are banning or restricting anyone who has been in China within 14 days. 


If you are allowed to enter a country, you may be placed under a 14 day home quarantine. So if you're planning on leaving research first. 

Try googling your planned destination country with the words coronavirus travel restrictions

Also, try to look up a country's official Customs and Immigration website.

How would you leave?

Day by day there are fewer and fewer options for how to leave China. So, what are your actual options for leaving?


If you can get to Hong Kong Airport (by ferry or plane) or to Macao there are more options.

If you're leaving, do ensure you have a good mask, hand sanitizer, snacks and supplies for your journey which may take longer with extra checkpoints.


If you have a pet, who will take care of it? Locals may be a better option than other foreigners who could later leave themselves.

How much to bring?

What items are critical?

Packing up is troublesome, so be decisive but maybe bring a bit more than for a vacation.


Don't forget warmer clothes if headed north and of course all important documents. Pack 

more items than you'd need for a vacation as you are out indefinitely.


What about work? Can you work online or find a new job. Realistically, will you actually have work in China for the next month or two?

Self Quarantine?

No matter where you go, it would be wise to avoid large crowds, sick people and older people, at least for a week as the average incubation time is 5.2 days

Trouble deciding? Make a pros /cons list: STAY on one side, GO on the other and then consider your options. Every few days look back and re-evaluate.

Pros & Cons



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