Advice from Letterkenny man living in China

JOE Kelly from Letterkenny has been in China (Shenzhen) since 2012. He is Vice President, Corporate Communications at Huawei, a global leader in ICT.

China has had more than 81,000 reported infections and 3,270 deaths and people have been living under restrictions since the end of January.

Last Friday was the first day that China reported no new infections. Saturday was the second day. The only exceptions are people from overseas re-importing the virus.


Eight weeks in, the restrictions are being relaxed – slowly and carefully. Restaurants have reopened, but temperature checks are still in place but much less frequently. There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

Wuhan, the centre of the coronavirus outbreak in China, has begun to loosen its two-month lockdown on citizens as more countries issue new restrictions to contain the pandemic.

“The dark veil is lifting slowly and cautiously. We have, I believe, another two months of living in the shadow of the Coronavirus to go,” he said.

Joe returned to China from a holiday in the Philippines on February 2nd. Before leaving the country 10 days earlier, the controls were already in place and everyone was wearing face masks.

During the restrictions, most restaurants were closed but were doing home deliveries. The streets were quiet and people self-isolated. There were no shortages of food and no arguments over toilet paper! People could buy online and deliveries were made.

“I had my temperature taken many times per day, entering shops, work, my apartment building. That was reassuring to know I was likely ok,” he said.

Travel outside China was closed and travel into the country and within the country was restricted. He admitted that things have been tough, frustrating and, at times, depressing.


“My advice is to isolate as you can and wear masks. Don’t hog products in the supermarkets; It’s not the end of the world.

“Use the time at home wisely: learn a new skill, read those books and watch those movies you never got around to reading watching. Watch the news but don’t obsess about it,” he said.

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