We Put Your COVID Questions to British Consul-General Chris Wood

By Ned Kelly, April 11, 2022

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We semi regularly put your questions about life in China to the UK Government, and have received some very useful answers. Here are a couple of the most recent:

READ MORE: 5 Important Questions About Life in China Answered

READ MORE: 5 More Questions Answered by the UK Government in China

With everything going on amid the Shanghai lockdown and Omicron outbreaks across the country, we thought it would be a good time to reach out with some more.

Here's a video message from British Consul-General Shanghai, Chris Wood, followed by his answers to your most recent, COVID-related questions.

Is there a 24/7 emergency number for the British Consulate?
24/7 support is available by telephone for all urgent enquiries and emergencies. Please call us on +86 (0) 10 8529 6600. In the case of an emergency, you will be able to speak to someone on this number.

Since this is a 24/7 line, your call may initially go through to someone based outside of China. 

Many people are struggling to order food and other essentials, particularly where there are language barriers. What should I do if I can’t get food? Can the British Consulate arrange emergency food parcels for Brits?
I know that this is an extremely trying time for everyone in terms of access to food supplies. If you need additional grocery or water supplies and are unable to purchase these yourself, please reach out to your local community/neighborhood contact in the first instance.

Most delivery drivers are locked down like everyone else, so this makes it much more difficult. Stores and merchants are requiring high minimum order quantities for delivery, so there are real benefits if you can order with your neighbors.

The Shanghai government officially dismissed recent rumors that housing compounds were no longer allowed to receive deliveries.

You can also call the local government hotline on 12345 and press 7 for English service. If you need urgent support, you can call the British Consulate on +86 (0) 10 8529 6600 for assistance.

What should we do if the authorities separate us from our kids?
Potential child separation is our top priority. We understand that potentially being separated from your child(ren) is a paramount concern for any parent. 

If you have been informed that you are about to be or have been separated from your child for COVID-related reasons, please call us on our 24-hour emergency support line. Our consular staff will do everything they can to help you.

We have been highlighting our concerns about child separation to the Chinese authorities, and we will continue to do so as long as these risks remain. 

There have been some adjustments to Shanghai policy in recent days to allow children under the age of 7 who test positive for COVID to be accompanied by a parent to designated facilities.

If a parent/parents test positive for COVID but their child tests negative, can the child accompany parents to quarantine?
We continue to raise our concerns with the Chinese authorities in relation to all minor children, irrespective of whether it is the parent or the child who tests positive. However, we cannot intervene directly in China’s COVID policies and regulations.

We recommend that, where possible, you have an emergency back-up plan with trusted friends or neighbors within your housing compound to be carers for your child should you, as a parent, be taken in to quarantine.

Is there any support available for protecting pets, particularly having seen the story about the corgi in Pudong?
We were all shocked to see the footage of a dog being killed. The reaction of Shanghai’s residents demonstrates their overwhelming sadness that this could happen in Shanghai. 

We encourage you to have a relevant back-up plan for care of your pets should you be taken in to a quarantine facility.

There are a number of local community groups providing support around pet care, and we encourage you to reach out to them.

READ MORE: Shanghai Residents on a Mission to Save Vulnerable Pets

Unfortunately the British Consulate can’t support with pet care. Nor can we intervene directly with China’s COVID regulations. 

Is there access to any language translation services for people about to go in to central quarantine or who are already in quarantine?
If you find yourself about to be taken in to quarantine, or are already in quarantine, and you are struggling with language barriers, services such as Inward Living on WeChat (ID: InwardAsia) provide Emergency Chinese communication assistance. Or you can call us for emergency support.

Contact Inward via the QR code below:

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Is there support available for British people wanting to leave China as soon as possible? 
We are not currently advising British citizens to leave Shanghai. Individual decisions on whether to remain or to leave are, of course, personal – based on individual comfort thresholds, balanced with an assessment of the risks and the support you have available to overcome these. 

We currently have no plans to provide charter flights for those wishing to depart Shanghai. If you do wish to leave Shanghai, there are a limited number of commercial routes currently available (notably via Hong Kong). Unfortunately, we cannot assist with the financial costs associated with these. 

If you have air tickets but are struggling to get access to transport to reach the airport, 24/7 support is available by telephone for all urgent enquiries and emergencies – please call us on +86 (0) 10 8529 6600. 

Does the British Consulate have any information on how to access local government support for small businesses (if there is any)? Is there any financial aid available to British citizens facing hardships because of lockdown?
The Shanghai municipal government has issued 21 cross-departmental measures to support businesses over the COVID outbreak. This includes a range of subsidies and tax benefits, as well as recovery support across a number of industries including retail and catering.

We would encourage you to have a look at the details of these measures by clicking here or scanning the QR:

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These measures are effective until the end of 2022. You may need to take professional advice as to whether and how these measures might apply to your business.

UK businesses operating in China that require support can contact the UK Government’s Department for International Trade (DIT) by emailing commercialmail.beijing@fcdo.gov.uk.

Is the British government keeping track of numbers of citizens going into quarantine and coming out again?
We log all those cases who contact us for emergency support and maintain contact with them for as long as they need our support.

We don’t have broader access to Chinese government data about movements in and out of quarantine.  

We do monitor the volume and frequency of requests for help and use this to inform our future advice and planning.


24/7 support is available by telephone for British nationals, for all urgent enquiries and emergencies. Please call +86 (0) 10 8529 6600.

For the latest China Travel advice, which includes relevant information for Brits living in China, click here or scan the QR:

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Sign Up for the UK Consular WeChat Channel

This UK Consular channel keeps you up to date with their latest news and current trends in China which may affect British people.

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[Cover image via DriveTribe]

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