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22 de març 2020

Guillem Hernandez Solà explains the pandemia from a Chinese perspective (20 MAR 2020)

The dramatic plea by Guillem Hernandez Solà, who witnessed at first hand, as early as January, how the Chinese Community in Catalonia were getting worried about the risk of the COVI-19 virus reaching them over here, and started to take preventive action well in advance. I have translated it into English (with the author's permission), because it applies everywhere. It is dated March 20.
Click here to see the whole post, if need be.

20 MAR 2020

I am taking advantage of this speech to explain how the Chinese community in Barcelona is coping with the COVID-19 coronavirus. I have been married to a Chinese girl for 8 years and I share with you our concerns.

The Chinese Red Cross has gone to help Italy to stop COVID-19. The Italians helped China after an earthquake in Sichuan a year ago, so they happy to help them back. This speech did not surprise me, it is what my wife has been saying for weeks.

As you can see, he really lets fly at them, saying that they still have to stop much more. They have to stop transport, they have to stop any activity. My wife had been phoning her aunts for weeks and they kept telling us they were in permanent lockdown.

My wife is from Shanghai, which is about 840 km from Wuhan, the site of the initial outbreak. Bear in mind that Milan is 981 km from Barcelona. My wife's direct family has been confined to Shanghai since January 20, almost 9 weeks, and it still is. They are all in the risk group!

Obviously the contact is constant with them and despite being retired they have greatly reduced their activity. Having received this message in Barcelona, ​​my wife  starts to get ready. Since the end of January, my in-laws have decided to leave the house as little as possible.

We started buying more than we needed. We had the fridge full for the next 10-12 days instead of the next 5 days. We started to stock up on staple goods, which we usually did not do. My daughter, my wife and I were led normal lives, we had not reduced our activity.

They start talking about the MWC2020 being canceled and I start talking to my wife about it. She tells me that we are taking things very lightly and that it has to be canceled. Another several other voices appear in favour of canceling it. A few, but they begin to sound the alarm.

I ask her what the local community thinks, and even at the beginning of February, she starts telling me that we are taking it too lightly. We begin to intensify stocking groceries and essentials at home. We keep on mentally confining ourselves. In Spain, cases are starting to occur. The first case lands in the Clinic [hospital] and many alarms start to sound. My wife is in touch with Chinese mums at school and one of them, who is pregnant, starts asking a lot of things. She is obviously in the risk group, and better safe than sorry.

One day a woman appears with a PDF on her mobile. This Chinese mom has sent it to her, it was an authorization from a Chinese association in Catalonia telling the school principal clearly that she would not take her son to school so that he would not be exposed to the Coronavirus.

We help her fill out the PDF and remind her that schooling is compulsory in Catalonia. My wife comments that she is not the first one, for in the WeChat group (Chinese Whatsapp) she belong to there are mums who have not taken their children to school for three weeks. In that group are Chinese women from all over Catalonia. It is a group of Chinese people who help each other whenever they can, they talk about special offers, discounts, purchases and life in general. Everyone is talking about one thing right now, they want to go back to China because the Spanish state is scary, yes, scary, they fear poor management. A management that has come too late. My wife has a Chinese school, where there are families of all kinds, where both parents are Chinese, families in which one of them is Chinese, or in which neither member is Chinese. We get alarmed at a specific moment in time.

One of the Chinese families writes to us that they returning to China and taking the girl out of school. The reason is that they believe they will be safer there. I didn't believe it at the time. My wife regarded it as quite normal, and she kept repeating the sentence, that we we taking it too lightly.

For work I have to go to CDMX [Ciudad de México], and I plan an imminent closure of the girl's school. Let's stock for like 3 weeks, it's time to confine everything, as expected. When I am in CDMX the Catalan government is already considering closing schools.

At home we are ready, I call my wife from CDMX and tell her we are going into complete confinement. We are ready, no problem. I tell her that on Friday the girl is not going to school and she is not going to the Skating [rink] either. We suspend all outings from home. The Catalan government says it is not waiting until Monday and by Friday everything is suspended. A great decision. I get the whole thing while in CDMX. In Madrid they are not yet aware that we will have Coronavirus for weeks. Flights began to get canceled and I asked myself what the heck was I doing in CDMX. I changed flights and was able to return.

My in-laws, my wife and my daughter have been confined in their homes for a week. I've been there since Wednesday. It's like a weekend that never ends where you can't do outdoor activities. Yes, we do not go out and we hope everyone will follow the example. My wife's school closed and for now I have been able to turn the business online and work much more virtually. We were lucky that school had started and I can struggle by. We are both self-.employed, so no one can fire us, but we are very clear if we can ask for help or not, and on how everything will go.

What surprises us the most, me included, because I have been with my wife for 15 years and I know how she thinks, is people's lack of responsibility. There are people leaving for the beach today. They are irresponsible, to put it mildly. Don't count us in.

I completely agree with the total confinement of Catalonia. Not confining Madrid will cost us dearly. Being Spanish by legal imperative kills us today more than ever before. The solution is not to centralize the State, the solution is coordination.

California is confined, Bavaria is confined, Lombardy is confined and Catalonia is not because we lower our pants in front of a centralized state. We have to self-confine ourselves, we need to be aware that this will last, and it will last longer if people are not responsible. It's time to show to show dignity and sovereignty, to put everything we have on the table and fight as a people again. Madrid will be confined, and it will be confined late. Once you've exported the virus to the entire planet as it has. It's too late. They've passed the problem onto the people.

Lastly, look after yourselves. No will do that for you. Don't be unconscious. Pay attention to the Catalan Government and especially Oriol Mitjà. The Spanish media apparatus wants him to be got rid of, because now he is taking the role that  Trapero took on 17A*. We shall carry on talking: remember those words.


I leave you a video of how Beijing prepared to continue its life during the Coronavirus outbreak. These are measures that we will have to take and we will end up applying them in Europe too if we want to stop the pandemic.

* Chief Commissioner Trapero, head of the Catalan police, had to cope with the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils on August 17 2017. He was never forgiven by many Spanish media for his successful and rapid handling of the case. He awaits the verdict following his trial on charges of rebellion (sic) for not beating up voters on October 1 2017 - six weeks later! - during Catalonia's unauthorized referendum on self-determination.

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