We semi regularly put your questions about life in China to the UK Government, and have received some very useful answers over the last few years.
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 of your questions, and British Consul-General Shanghai, Chris Wood, duly obliged.
And, with the situation ever-developing, we followed up with five more questions. Here are Chris Wood's latest answers.
What are the latest updates on child separation policies if a parent or child is taken in to central quarantine?
Our Consular team has supported – and continues to support – a number of British nationals in need of urgent assistance in emergency situations. During recent weeks in Shanghai, we have directly supported Brits in a range of areas – including around possible child separation. Happily we have been able to keep several families together.
The Chinese authorities have now changed their policies around child separation. They have confirmed that child separation is no longer a policy, and parents may accompany children to quarantine facilities. If a parent is taken in to quarantine, they can also have their child accompany.
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 on +86 (0) 10 8529 6600. Our consular staff will do everything they can to help you.
I’m planning to leave Shanghai – can the British Consulate provide me with a letter to facilitate my travel out of my residential compound?
We are not currently advising British citizens to leave Shanghai. However, we have adjusted our Travel Advice to advise against all but essential travel to Shanghai Municipality due to the ongoing Omicron outbreak.
For those in 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 available to overcome these.
For those with flight bookings to leave Shanghai, I know that many local communities have been requesting letters of support from foreign Embassies or Consulates. The Foreign Affairs Office has confirmed that there is no such requirement from the city government.
If your local community is insisting on a letter, and you have confirmed flight bookings departing within 7 days, please contact our 24/7 number +86 (0) 10 8529 6600 to arrange a letter.
If you have confirmed flights departing in more than 7 days, please contact us using the feedback form, giving your name, flight details and contact number. For the feedback form click here or scan the QR:
How can I access mental health support?
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is hugely important. Support is available. You might like to look at the wellbeing and mental health guidance on our website – to do that click here or scan the QR:
You can also reach out to China-based support services, such as Lifeline:
For more information on mental health support, please follow our UK Consular WeChat account (see below).
What should I do if I need to access medical care?
If you are in need of urgent medical care or assistance whilst in lockdown, please call the Chinese emergency services on 120. If unable to get through on 120, you can call the police on 110.
You should reach out to your local community contact to issue you with an Admission Form for hospital admission, if needed. You can also call your local government hotline on 12345.
For non-critical medical care, you should contact your local community for an Admission Form to visit the relevant medical facility.
If you are having difficulty accessing urgent medication you can call us on +86 (0) 10 8529 6600.
We have been physically locked in to our building – the doors have been bolted. What should we do?
I have been shocked to hear of people physically being locked in to their buildings. If this has happened in your building, please speak to your local community officer and building management as soon as possible.
You can also call your local government hotline on 12345. If you need urgent assistance, you can call us on +86 (0) 10 8529 6600.
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:
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.
[Cover image via DriveTribe]