Rossie’s Chinese film debut delayed due to Covid outbreak!

Roscommon town native, Jason Croghan, who has been based in Hangzhou, China for the last three years, told the Roscommon People this week that a Covid-19 outbreak has delayed his film debut!

The 36-year-old software developer lives in Hangzhou with his wife Hui and was due to fly to the city of Shijiazhuang to work as an extra on a Chinese film called ‘The Battle of Lake Changjin’.

The movie, which is government funded, tells the story of a group of Chinese army reservists taking on the US Army, and was due to start production this week – but has now been delayed for two weeks.

Jason said an outbreak in Shijiazhuang in Hebei province has seen more than 700 people test positive for Covid-19.

“The Covid-19 outbreak is 300km from the filming location but the local government will not let us travel. They have tested a city of 11 million people and found 700 cases and locked the whole province down for seven days. I have been told to wait until at least the 15th now to travel.

“Beijing is currently locked down completely and people are not permitted to enter or leave. I was due to travel via Beijing. Those who have already travelled to the filming site must now quarantine where they are for two weeks,” he said.

The Roscommon town man spoke to this newspaper almost a year ago when news of the novel coronavirus first broke and he was confined to his apartment in Hangzhou.

He says that the situation has improved dramatically in that city in recent months.

“There hasn’t been anything that would even remind you that there even was a virus for around half a year or more in Hangzhou.

“Everyone still puts their mask on but it’s mostly just to appease others. There haven’t been any restrictions here for a long time. Elevators, for example, are as full as they used to be. There isn’t any virus here at all. People just need to do what they’re told (by health experts),” he said.

Jason added that the authorities practice zero tolerance when it comes to the disease and local lockdowns and contact tracing have been strictly enforced.

Smartphones have also been used in the fight against Covid-19 and a colour-coded system lets citizens know if they free to enter crowded areas such as shopping malls and subways.

“I do require an up to date Covid-19 test within 72 hours of travelling to another region but there are no queues at the testing centres and no wait times, so it’s quite convenient,” Jason concluded.