China Builds 5,000-Room Quarantine Center: China’s 5,000-room quarantine center is opened in Guangzhou for oversea arrivals

Many countries have begun opening up for international travelers again, with restrictions depending on nationality and vaccination status. For visitors interested in going to China, they’ll find themselves in Guangzhou’s International Health Station, which opened on Sept. 17 of this year. These rows of grey buildings span an area comparable to forty-three football fields and can hold up to five thousand occupants, but Chinese officials predict they’ll fill up fast. According to a CNN article, the average passenger jet has three hundred passengers, and travelers will be required to quarantine for at least two weeks. For those of you not interested in doing the math, that means that the International Health Station will be very close to capacity once sixteen airplanes’ worth of passengers have arrived.

Once travelers clear customs at the airport, they’ll be transported to the facility by bus. Guests will check in and out through technology, and every measure will be taken to prevent contact with other people, including other guests. The rooms in Guangzhou International Health Station are equipped with a video chat camera and an artificial intelligence thermometer, and robots are sent to deliver meals each day. All these measures are designed to minimize contact with staff members, though all medical personnel have to undergo rigorous quarantining protocols themselves in order to prevent them transmitting any outbreak to the population at large.

This facility was constructed in just three months, a staggering construction feat given the size of the project, and it cost the Chinese government approximately $260 million in U.S. dollars. Guangzhou is the sensible flagship city for the first International Health Station, since the southern city receives up to ninety percent of China’s international travelers. While it’s the first of its kind in China, some sources suggest that other cities are already planning to build their own health stations, since China’s policies around COVID-19 suggest that there will be zero tolerance for the virus and that they plan to continue aggressive measures to prevent the spread of the illness. Sources report that Dongguan, a major manufacturing hub, and Shenzhen, known for its technology development, will be the next sites, though likely they won’t be as large as the ones in Guangzhou.

Before the opening of the Guangzhou International Health Station, visitors were expected to quarantine in specially designated facilities throughout the city, but these procedures had  a much higher chance of contamination than the almost air-tight procedure that new visitors will face on entry. There’s a good chance that these aggressive measures will prevent the spread of COVID-19 from international travelers, but one might wonder how well the travelers will fare cut off from human contact for two weeks. Let’s hope the facilities are designed to foster health in all areas, physical and mental, otherwise China may not be getting much use out of their new health stations.

Sources: CNN, News.com.au, The Caribbean Alert, CNN