Reporting to you on Day 0 of my 14-days quarantine in Shanghai. And the ordeal actually started three days before this.
The Pre-Travel Covid-19 Test
Once I received the Invitation Letter from the officials in China and applied/got my China business visa, I proceeded to confirm my flights. It used to a challenge to get the flights you want, the demand of flights to Shanghai was a reflection of the the volume of trade between the cities. It was much more challenging given that it has reduced from 5 flights a day to only one flight a week! The waiting list was 6 weeks ahead, and I have to bet that I would get the visa on time.
Then you have that 48-hours pre-flight Covid-19 PCR Test. It is mandatory to get a negative test result before you board the plane, and there’s strict requirements from China authorities that you get the test completed only 48 hours before you board the plane, i.e. if your flight is 2 Nov, the earliest you can do the test is 30 Oct as it takes 24-48 hours before the result can come back. I will spare the details on the test was done – not pleasant, and there will be at least 5 more times from now until I get home.
The Pre Flight Check-In
Only one flight was available, and I have to just bear with it even it was 8am and I had to get to the airport by 6am given the longer check-in time required. At the check-in counter, SQ collected one copy of the PCR certificate as well as the pre-flight health declaration that they need to submit to the Chinese government.
Duty-free was the only store opened. I guess even with Covid, shopping is still a must.
I am so glad that the SilverKris Lounge is still opened for passengers. Because of the earlier check-in you have almost an hour to burn before the boarding time.
However if you are on transit through Changi, the lounge is off bound as transit passengers have a separate waiting area from the rest of the passengers taking a direct flight to their destination.
The buffet spread had been kept away for fear of Covid spread. However, they were still serving a simple selection of food items. I ordered a vermicelli and regretted it.
I didn’t take any of the fried items that came with the bee hoon, they looked really unappetising. The bee hoon was equally horrible.
SQ took this opportunity to do massive renovations of the lounge, given that everything would be different when travel resumed. That’s foresight in keeping the business product current during the down period in my opinion.
At the boarding gate, we had to fill in the health declaration forms, and if you have the WeChat app, filled in the China health declaration as well.
People on transit were segregated on one side of the waiting area so that there’s minimum mingling between the two groups. This was full flight.
Finally we can board, and it was done by rows. Everybody has to follow strictly in these special times.
The Cabin Product
It was the new Business Class product for A350, but I was not excited to have tried this for the very first time because everything would be different.
Special times required special measures. A lot of the personal service from the cabin crew had been replaced by self-service. I collected a SIA Care Kit that consisted of an alcohol wipe for wiping down the touchscreen and the seat, an extra mask just in case and a bottle of hand sanitiser cum moisturiser. The last was really useful to just bring it allow.
The headphones now came with paper covers to keep them hygienic.
I wasn’t expecting a full Business Class experience. I was told in advance that everything will come in one tray.
The nasi lemak from SQ was a highlight from the Book the Chef specials. They gave you a generous amount of sambal for the rather small portion of rice. The ikan bilis remained crispy, and the spicy chicken drumlet reminded me of the good ol’ days in the lounge. The only item I found to be underwhelming was the otah – did not pack the punch and herby spiciness.
We arrived on time at Pudong Airport in a rather non-eventful flight. It was equally quiet at Pudong, but that’s because we disembarked the plane in small groups and were chaperoned around.
After disembarkation, we filled in a series of health declaration through a WeChat mini-apps (or if you had done it in Singapore, you can just pulled out the QR code). Then, I was followed the arrows and did the second swap test.
After the swab test, I went through immigration and collected my luggage. I noticed they were wet, most likely from disinfectant sprayed on them.
I followed the arrows again and a person asked where I would be going afterwards. There are waiting areas for different districts for Shanghai and nearby cities like Suzhou. I waited patiently for the result.
Then the all clear was given, I was asked to board the bus with the rest of the Pudong dwellers.
This was kind of weird feeling as I was not expecting anything fancy because I did not get to choose the quarantine hotel. I read on the internet that this quarantine point #19 was one of the better ones.
I was pleasantly surprised at the size of the room. However I was disappointed that I could not order food deliveries to the hotel and delivery was limited to cup noodles, biscuits and sundry items. Everything else had to be ordered from room service. Well I guessed they have to recover some of the costs given that this once 4-star hotel is now charging only ¥350 per night for the quarantine.
The first thing I did was not unpacking, but wiping down the entire room.
First it was a complete wipe down using Lysol disinfectant wipes. Then Dettol diluted with water. Finally, the protective spray that would last for 90 days. Never did I think I would be doing area cleaning since I was discharged from the army.
The other thing to note, they did not provide any proper mug or cup, just a couple of paper cups. And there’s no coffee or tea. I brought along a thermo flask and my own instant coffee. All room service was closed and I could not order food delivery. Luckily I brought some “combat ration”.
Then I started to work from the hotel room. The wifi signal was rather bad, I had to use a local carrier to do my web conference call.
The First Night
Finally, I can settle down to rest, the first night of the quarantine.
This will be my home and office for the next 14 days. Stay tune!