Public Health

Despite 12 negative COVID-19 tests, Perkins Coie partner is stuck in 37-day hotel quarantine in China

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Perkins Coie partner James Zimmerman was unprepared for the greeting that he received from China, when he returned in March from open-heart surgery in the United States.

Zimmerman, a Beijing-based partner, wanted to return to the city, so he could renew his one-year visa by April 30 and handle ongoing client matters, report Forbes (via Above the Law) and the Washington Post. If he missed the renewal, he would encounter delays before getting a visa.

But when Zimmerman arrived in Shanghai, he was put in a hotel quarantine amid the city’s COVID-19 shutdown. He began his quarantine in Shanghai and then was moved to Beijing. He will have to spend 37 days total in quarantine hotels.

He has repeatedly tested negative for COVID-19. His 12th test was negative, Zimmerman tweeted April 24.

“I am currently at the Jade National Hotel near the Asia Games area about two miles from my home,” he told Forbes in an interview. “It’s maybe a two-star hotel. At the street level, the hotel is surrounded by six-foot-high blue steel corrugated fencing. The furnishings and fixtures remind me of travel in rural areas in the early ’90s. The room is small, and so it doesn’t allow me to exercise the way I should be post-op. Before leaving for China, I was walking up to five miles a day and doing intense circuit training. It’s hard to keep this up in a [12-foot-by-12-foot] room day in and day out. Ditto for eating a heart-healthy diet. I begged the hotel for fresh fruit, and they delivered rotting apples, although they apologized after I complained.

“As I continued to vent, I finally got them to provide me with just steamed vegetables and white rice. The food has improved given the intensity of my rants. They also moved me to a room that just went through renovations, but the smell of new paint and glue is bothersome. They spray the hallways all day long with a cleaning solution, and there is a constant smell of chlorine.”

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