China Primers - China Travel Tips

Coronavirus and Staying Safe in China

On 31 December 2019, the Chinese Government notified the World Health Organisation of cases of pneumonia occurring in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of which the cause was unknown. It has now been identified/labeled as a novel coronavirus (nCoV) sometimes referred to as 2019-nCoV and in media as Wuhan Virus, or simply Coronavirus.

It is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans and it is zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.

Read more at the World Health Organization (WHO):

Read more at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

How to stay safe in China?

The WHO recommends: Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

In other articles the WHO has also stated to stay away from live animal markets.

Experts recommend proper hand-washing with soap and water as one of the best defenses with current guidance much the same as for any other respiratory illnesses, like the flu.

Li Lanjuan, a member of China’s National Health Commission, also suggested in the interview published on the Hubei Gov site that people should avoid large gatherings, frequently wash their hands, wear masks and make sure their indoor air is circulating.

There is also a Q&A on the Hubei Gov site answering some questions including recommended masks which include masks with ratings N95, KN95, DS2, FFP2. Also recommended to wear masks tightly to reduce any chance of transfer by airborne droplets and to replace masks regularly.

I think it is also wise to

  • not share utensils or participate in shared meals eg hotpot
  • not share towels, every house member should use independent towels that are washed and dried regularly in hot water.
  • wear gloves, and wash gloves daily in hot water
  • wash hands after contact with other people, outside objects etc.
  • stay away from sick people, at least 2m
  • when helping others who show symptoms, wear a mask and wash hands often
  • If you are eating meat, eggs etc, ensure it is cooked thoroughly

Update your Residence Details

Also, make sure your household registration is up to date. All foreigners in China must register their address with the Public Security Bureau (PSB) in their area. This is done by the hotel for tourists visiting and those staying long term and renting need to do this themselves.

This enables your government’s authorities, via the Chinese government, to locate you quickly in case of emergency.

If you have not done this, you should go to the nearest PSB and complete a Registration Form of Temporary Residence (临时住宿登记表) and you will need to take your passport and rental lease.

Stay alert for travel advisories and register travel plans

Keep in tune with your own government’s travel warnings. Most governments also offer the ability to register your travel plans and you should do so.

US –

UK –

AU –

NZ –


What are the Symptoms of Coronavirus?

Respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and death.

If you show symptoms, report to a hospital, and notify your embassy. If you search expat hospital + city name, you should be able to find lists of hospitals in major tier-one cities that have a special area for foreigners.

Official daily updates 

There is no shortage of news about the virus but not much of it is that useful to those in the middle of it. Do keep an eye the provincial government website in your area such as

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