Asinaapoyi (Mait Groom) is a 29-year-old Albertan who has just finished two weeks of quarantine. He is currently in his fourth year working as an educator teaching the British Columbia curriculum at a private school in northern China. Asinaapoyi, a Canadian in China during COVID-19, had travelled to Thailand for a month “when the outbreak began getting more serious,” he told Narcity in an interview. When he returned, he was told by the local health authorities that he’d be required to undergo a 14-day in-home isolation period.

In an exclusive interview for Narcity, the "Canadian under quarantine in China" gave us an inside look at what it's really like. 

Asinaapoyi is currently living in the Guangxi region of southern China. The area he lives in borders Vietnam.

"The local health authorities and officials put me under quarantine,” he said. “It is not a completely strict quarantine like in some areas of China; it varies from province, city and even apartment complexes."

He is only allowed to get groceries when necessary — which he did once, on his second day of quarantine. Apart from that, he has been inside his apartment or "utilizing the patio to get some much-needed sunshine on sunnier days."

His first day indoors was on March 3 and the isolation was meant to last until Tuesday, March 17. He ended up regaining his freedom on Wednesday, March 18 instead.

Every morning Asinaapoyi is checked in on at around 10 a.m. and again in the afternoon at 3 p.m. The mandatory checks are conducted by volunteers who come to take his temperature and record it.

“They check for any temperature fluctuation or signs of fever.” The 29-year-old went on to explain that “My quarantine ending depends on my temperature being normal for the 14 days, if there’s a spike indicating fever then I’d be taken to the hospital for treatment.”

The Canadian told us that the outbreak initially put a damper on a month-long road trip to Yunnan province which he had planned with friends. “[We] were turned away one day in a small town and asked to return home as they were closing hotels, tourist sites, and the highway.

”Apart from that, when asked how his life is being impacted by the outbreak, he said his work was significantly affected.  “We were meant to have Chinese New Year holiday off, January 17 to February 17,” he said. However, at the time of this interview, it had been nearly a month past the planned date of resumption and school had not resumed.

When asked if he feels safe and supported amid the pandemic, he said “Absolutely.” He told us that he has a support network that helps with translation between him and local health officials and "If things do go south, health-wise," he knows he is “being monitored and there’s experienced staff ready to help.”

As of March 18, Asinaapoyi was on his first day out of isolation, though he had heard that he'd still be out of work a while longer. He mentioned that curfews are still in effect, though.

He explained that the best thing anyone can do right now regarding COVID-19 is to take it seriously and really emphasize that others do the same.

Asinaapoyi has been planning to return to Alberta. He says that every summer after the school year ends, he always returns to his hometown. Now, it doesn’t look like this will become a reality.

As for his time alone in his apartment, he said "Quarantine is quite simple. Stay inside. Try not to have prolonged contact with others."

He said the experience was "originally quite nice as I settled into a nice pace of working, taking up hobbies and relaxing.

"Though, after a week his sleep schedule began to suffer. "It's hard to get to bed at a reasonable time and harder to find a reason to get up in the mornings," he shared.

As for returning home to Alberta, Asinaapoyi is unsure when he’ll be able to make it back.

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