Packing for a long sleep-over at the office has become the new normal

Li Qian
Many of us now go to work with an overnight bag of clothes and toiletries. It may not be a five-star stay, but we may suddenly have no choice.
Li Qian

My friend Lily Du was busy with packing her luggage as we had a video call late at night.

"Check what else I need to bring," she asked, gesturing at a jumble of makeup, shampoo, toothbrush, odds and sods on her bed. But right away, she kicked her feet away from the screen.

"Oh, I forget to pack my pads and instant hotpots!"

"Where are you going? For a vacation?" I asked, shouting. "Nowhere," she returned. "Just for work."

She works for the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Press on Huaihai Road M.

On Tuesday, a watch boutique, just a few steps away, was cordoned off for suspected COVID-19 cases. After she knocked off, she started to pack her luggage at home in case the place would be suddenly quarantined.

"I am not afraid at all. Nor are my colleagues. And I just want to make my stay at work, if necessary, as comfortable as possible," she said.

Packing for a long sleep-over at the office  has become the new normal
Ti Gong

Lily Du has packed all the things she needs for a sudden office quarantine.

Packing for a long sleep-over at the office  has become the new normal
Ti Gong

As I talked with my other friends, I found Lily is not alone in preparing for possible quarantine at work.

"Going to the office with luggage" has somewhat become a new trend amid the latest COVID-19 outbreak sweeping the city.

Shanghai today reported five new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and 21 local asymptomatic cases. Currently there are six medium-risk areas in the city, and many public venues, including hospitals, parks, museums and galleries, have suspended operations.

Phoebe Qian, a teacher at the Jiangsu Road No.5 Primary School, said one of her colleagues has kept her luggage in the car boot for weeks.

Lillian Ling, who works for Porsche in the Lujiazui area, said the company started to send out sleeping sacks yesterday.

"I brought my slippers to my office yesterday," Cheng, who works at the Shanghai Tower, told me.

She notices fewer people in the building these days.

As usual, she went downstairs to buy a cup of coffee yesterday afternoon. Without much of a wait.

"No lines, no piles of takeaway orders. The barista told me that many tenants were working from home," she said.

"I don't think it's a big deal to have quarantine although I hope we can get it over as soon as possible."

But few people feel a sense of panic, thanks to Shanghai's precise pandemic prevention and control.

Epidemiological investigations involving thousands or tens of thousands of people can narrow issues down to a small patch.

As soon as cases are found and confirmed, relevant information is published, and relevant measures are immediately implemented.

What's more, more than 95 percent of the city's permanent residents have been fully vaccinated.

The city's top infectious expert Zhang Wenhong once said: "Based on Shanghai's experience, a proper vaccination strategy is key to dispelling the shadow of COVID-19."

"The dawn of our victory over the pandemic has appeared."

Special Reports