Life in lockdown

A reflection from Wuhan

Jiayuan Liu tells us that while the lockdown period was not easy - there were some silver linings. The UOW Master of Engineering alumna lives and works in Wuhan, China, and like many thousands in her community, was only able to leave her home after the nearly two-and-a-half month lockdown was officially lifted on April 8, 2020.

The strict measures were put in place on January 23, in an effort by Chinese authorities to stop the spread of COVID-19. People were not allowed to enter or leave the city, unless under special circumstances.

Jiayuan tells us that while the lockdown period has certainly not been easy – there have been some silver linings.

“For the first two months (from January 23), I couldn't leave home. All the shops were closed, including restaurants, supermarkets, vegetable markets and so on. Our food was purchased in a special way and distributed by community workers, we couldn’t leave the community and could only exercise in a limited area.

“It was really tough at the beginning; but this experience will make us appreciate our present life more, and help us realise how precious what we have is”.


Staying indoors has slowed the pace for Jiayuan; not having to commute an hour each way to work has given her over three weeks of time for reflection, focus and some relaxation.

“I stayed with my parents during this period, which is probably the longest time I have spent with them! We should cherish this opportunity and enjoy the happiness with our family members. When I have a family of my own in the future, I may never have the opportunity to do this again, so [my advice is to] take this time to do all the things we have always wanted to do for our family so there will be no regrets in the future.

“During this time, my family and I watched TV shows together, cooked together, or did sports together at home.

“I have found working from home more comfortable and quiet, with no one walking around to disturb me. I often video chat with my friends, it’s a great way to take a lot of pressure off your mind”.

Jiayuan also advocates helping others while in isolation.

“I’ve also participated in volunteer work, I work with those who need help online and take their needs to the relevant government departments. The work has empowered me, so if you can - find such an opportunity, not only can you help others, it also relieves your stress and makes you more optimistic”.

“Wuhan is now mostly back to its normal state. Supermarkets and restaurants are open, most of the citizens leave home to go to their workplaces now and traffic has resumed. But there are still some security restrictions, such as keeping distance between people, we are not allowed to eat-in at restaurants – only take-away, some crowded areas need temperature checks, etc., but overall Wuhan has returned to normal.

“We will pay more attention to our health in the future, and improve and adjust previous habits. These mental and behavioural changes are positive and will be beneficial for us”.

Along with all our alumni and students both onshore and around the world, UOW has been sending its support to our Chinese alumni and students, as their country was one of the hardest hit by the virus. We look forward to reconnecting in person again when we can.

Jiayuan Liu
Master of Engineering (Telecommunications), 2019