Ms Du, door sensors and me: life with a Beijing Covid-19 quarantine handler

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China’s coronavirus measures are often seen as tough and effective – but how well do they really work?

Every day for the last two weeks I have spoken with Ms Du, a mild-mannered, middle-aged woman who is my quarantine handler.

She calls me in the morning to remind me to send her my temperature. She calls again if I forget to send the afternoon reading. She texts rose emojis, reminding me to “please cooperate” with the rules. If I open my door, equipped with a sensor, to put the rubbish in the hall or pick up a delivery, she immediately calls and reminds me to let her know beforehand.

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