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Canadians in China on life after the peak of COVID-19: ‘You guys are in for the long haul’

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WATCH ABOVE: It's hard to imagine what life will be like after the COVID-19 quarantine, however two Canadians in China are shedding light on their experience now that some lockdowns have been lifted. Lisa MacGregor reports – Apr 13, 2020

It’s hard to imagine what life will be like after the COVID-19 social distancing and isolation measures are lifted.

Some are looking to China, which has started to emerge from its initial wave of the virus, for timelines on when restrictions could end in Canada. Two Canadians living in different parts of China are shedding some light on the experience now that some lockdowns there have been lifted.

READ MORE: COVID cases in Canada tracker: How many new cases of COVID-19 today?

Nikk Mitchell lives and works in Hangzhou, China, which is just over eight hours from Wuhan — where the novel coronavirus originated. He said no one is rushing to give each other hugs, but many are appreciating the not-so-newfound freedom.

“Even though lockdown’s lifted here, it’s still normal to wear a mask and I have a health checkpoint that I go through to get to my office,” Mitchell said.

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“For people that aren’t taking it seriously, you’re the reason why it has to be months, not weeks. In China, pretty much everybody took it really seriously at least in my city, and it was under a month of quarantine.”

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“I never go to the mall but I just did because I could, and I was like, ‘Oh, this is amazing,” Mitchell said.

READ MORE: Wuhan, China’s coronavirus epicentre, ends 76-day lockdown

What got Mitchell through quarantine was a lot of virtual reality.

“I like go into other worlds. So I’d be putting on the headset and I would see myself at the beach,” Mitchell said. “It’s one of those things that’s horrible now, but in the end it’s going to be a story to tell our children and it’s going to be in the history books, they’re going to learn about it.”

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The story is different for Canadian Trevor Metz, who owns a bar in Beijing.

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Coronavirus outbreak: ‘Significant proportion’ of deaths in Canada linked to outbreaks in long-term care facilities: Tam – Apr 13, 2020

“In my building where I live, they would put chains around the doors from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. to stop people from coming and going,” Metz said.

Metz said restrictions are lighter now but still in place.

“About 60 per cent of the people have returned back and gone back to work,” Metz said. “To get into anywhere, any community, any mall, you have to have an app on your phone that will say if you’ve been in Beijing this whole time.”

READ MORE: China’s new coronavirus cases highest in nearly six weeks, many from overseas

Metz’s advice to people in Canada is to mentally prepare for an extended period of restrictions.

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“You guys have months of it and you shouldn’t be fooling yourself, what you have in front of you. We’ve been doing this since early January and it’s weird. It gets into your mind. You have to just learn to enjoy it,” Metz said. “You guys are in for the long haul I’m afraid, and I know no one wants to hear that but this is the reality of the situation.

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