Michelle’s Adventures Navigating Guangzhou Quarantine

Toronto Pearson Airport


Toronto to Guangzhou January 8 -January 22, 2021

Two days before my flight, I took my Covid-19 test at 9am at Elna in Woodbridge, Ontario. I received my results 5am the next morning and uploaded my results to the Health Declaration Certificate system. I received my code around 20 minutes later. On January 8, 2021, I boarded the China Southern direct flight to Guangzhou.

The landing procedure was as normal. We did not disembark one row at a time, we were allowed to leave shortly after arriving. Once we disembarked, we were handed a piece of paper with a collection of scan codes and a number.

The number at the bottom right indicates your position in line, you wait for you number to be called. Brush up on your Chinese, as no staff spoke English and the numbers are called in Chinese.

After you scan your code , you wait for your number to be called, stand in line where another employee checks your information. You can pre-load the China Customs Health App from Canada to save on time. It must be done no more than 24 hours before landing in China. Here we have a handy guide on how to get the China Customs Health App mini-program on Wechat. At the end of this line is a check in desk, I was very confused as I did not sleep for 15 hours and thought this was the covid test. They just wanted to see my passport and for me to sign some forms.

Then I followed the sign that said buses, walked down a few stairs until I saw the desk for covid testing, handed them my passport, was given a number and waited in line. The covid test was not pleasant. I got one rough nasal swab and a throat swab – the nurse just thrusted the swab in my nose and left it there for a few moments. I then was handed a slip of paper and was sent on my way to the baggage claim via a pitstop in immigration.

By this time, I was tired. After picking up my baggage, I followed the signs towards the buses, handed my passport to be scanned and was sent to a bus. We were sandwiched in, no social distancing on this bus. We had to keep our masks on until we arrived at the hotel.

At the hotel, our suitcases were unloaded and disinfected, and we had to wait in line to be disinfected – they sprayed your coat and shoes. Once you were sprayed, you could take your luggage and enter the hotel to register, get temperature checked and pay for your quarantine. I had an issue where my Alipay Tourpass would not work: I had enough Canadian dollars to pay for quarantine and the staff said they would try to convert it, however, they could not get it converted. Fortunately, my school was able to pay for it the next day. At the end of checkin, I was handed my hotel key and informed that the hotel did not have a meal plan. Luckily, my Chinese boyfriend was able to order me food.

The front desk staff gave me the wechat contactof an English speaking staff member, which was great as my room had no electricity in the outlets. I messaged the staff to let them know that the AC and power wasn’t working but was informed that they had to wait for my airport covid test results to come back before they could send maintenance to my room.

Michelle’s quarantine room.

Electricity was restored a day later, I was happy that I carried a power bank with me to charge my phone while I waited.

The staff at my hotel were very helpful; I had questions about where to put my garbage – outside my door. We were given garbage bags every day but did not receive any cleaning supplies – fortunately I brought my own. However, I did get several toothbrushes and bottles of shampoo and body wash. After a week, they left new towels outside my room on the table.

We got a temperature test twice a day: once in the morning and once in the afternoon. We did not receive notification on when our covid tests would be happening but I got my first one about five days in – the ladies performing the tests were very gentle.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad experience. Time dragged on for the first few days and then you blink and a few days pass. Before you know it, it’s over.

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