wasn't just any game of tennis. This would be our first game of tennis since the lockdown started in Beijing, almost four
We were told to get there quite a bit earlier than the 9am start. Just in case...
The doors open at eight-thirty.
We are the first in the queue of ten people, stretching back about 20 metres.
The two receptionists are, of course, both
wearing masks – as is everyone who enters this outdoor tennis centre. There is no discussion of should we or shouldn't we
put on our surgical masks, because everyone in this and I'm sure every city in China must continue to wear a mask in public,
even though the official tally of locally-transmitted cases is now close to zero.
So, 1) properly masked (no flimsy face-coverings
allowed) we present ourselves to the 2) similarly-masked receptionist, who 3) takes our temperatures with a contactless thermometer.
Any reading over 37 degrees would mean we couldn't play, although that would not be the worst of our worries.
4) scan the QR code on the wall, using either the Alibaba or WeChat app. We've both been in Beijing for longer than 14 days
continuously – we've actually been here for close to four months, having rushed back from a Chinese
New Year break in Hebei province after hearing a rumour that the border with Beijing was about to be closed – so we're quietly confident.
Sure enough, our 'health passport' apps
give both of us a glowing, big, green tick.
It's perhaps worth noting that the 'health passport' apps work on mobile-operator
location data, not bluetooth. This means that the technology doesn't need to be activated by the user. What's more, bluetooth is
not asked to do something it wasn't designed to do. And, in case you were wondering, the apps were designed, developed, and
rolled out in a couple of weeks, for a small amount of RMB, paid for by the companies themselves.
We proudly show our big, green ticks to the receptionist, who
5) takes a photo of them.
Somewhat relieved that the technology has worked yet again [thus far, it has never failed], we realise
that the dream of playing tennis again is close to coming true.
But not before we 6) sanitise our hands so that we can pick
up the pen to 7) write down our names, address, and mobile telephone numbers on the registration form in front of us.
to be on the safe side, we 8) sanitise our hands again.
The entire process takes no more than two minutes. Even if
it had taken much longer, it would have been no price to pay for saving lives and, with that, having peace-of-mind.
all, when it comes to this monstrous virus, safety is game, set, and match.