While local authorities in Rolf’s city in China are taking strict measures to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 infections, life is slowly getting back to normal. “But it is a new normal.” While shops and restaurants are opening, industries are beginning to operate again and public transport is almost entirely back to normal, however, in-country flights are still strictly controlled. All domestic airlines are limited to one flight per week and they should not be more than 75% full.
China is currently not allowing foreigners to enter until further notice. It’s gone from “lock down” to “lock out.” The government is discouraging travel for the time being in order to prevent imported cases of COVID-19. The Chinese government and local authorities are also keeping tabs on arrivals of Chinese returning from abroad. A minimal amount of flights are being allowed into China and anyone who is returning is being quarantined at their own expense for a period of 14 days in a hotel at the airport in the city in which they arrived. Authorities are so concerned over the threat of more infections that they are offering up to RMB 10,000 ($1,433) to anyone who would provide information on someone who was not abiding by quarantine regulations!
Even though businesses have started opening, it’s still quiet almost everywhere. The school where Rolf normally is teaching reopened April 6th with only 15 students for the English MBA business seminars. This is a sharp drop from the usual 60 plus who sign up. Rumor has it that the upcoming five day May holiday has been wiped out as a result of the lockdown and that teachers will have to work overtime to catch up. The owner of Rolf’s school is already preparing and scheduling classes for all summer long to make up for the shortfall, and he is pleading for Rolf to come back as soon as possible!
The lockdown has prevented Rolf’s team from being able to be together in their “Faith or Fiction” groups, like us they have had to find new ways to “meet” using video, phone apps and/or landline chats. This comes also with risks as one of the leaders found out when she was “meeting” with her group on Zoom. Suddenly she couldn’t hear a thing. At first she thought it was a network connection issue but soon the police came to her apartment and disconnected her internet access. Next they installed a video camera outside her front door and told her she was under “house arrest” for 14 days, and threatened harsh treatment if she continues “religious activities.” Even a pandemic doesn’t stop the communist officials from persecuting Christians!
Please PRAY for protection for these brave leaders as they continue to minister to their group. PRAY they would look to the Holy Spirit for guidance when pressured by Communist authorities and continue to be a vibrant witness to their people.
“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” Psalm 5:11
We continue to pray for you and your families during this difficult time.