China bought the West time to deal with virus but the West squandered it

LONDON • When I got off my flight from Beijing to London nearly two weeks ago, I knew what I had to do: go straight into self-quarantine.

I live in China, where a dramatic lockdown since late January has made it clear that all residents, even those well beyond the epicentre's outbreak in Wuhan, were in the middle of a global health crisis. The boarding process in Beijing was the final reminder: two mandatory temperature checks and an electronic health statement for which I had to provide an e-mail address and two contact phone numbers.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2020, with the headline 'China bought the West time. The West squandered it'. Print Edition | Subscribe