Useful Chinese Phrases for Quarantine in China

January 16, 2022

The thought of Chinese quarantine is intimidating enough on its own, and if you do not speak Chinese, it can seem downright terrifying. But not to fear! If you know some of the common words and phrases related to Chinese quarantine, you will be able to navigate the experience with relative ease.

Do I need to quarantine in China?

Yes. When you arrive, you will be assigned to a quarantine hotel or other quarantine center. How long your quarantine will be is determined by which city in China you arrive in, as well as your destination city.

You will foot the bill for quarantine yourself. The average cost of quaranatine in China is usually between ¥300-¥500 per day.

Chinese quarantine airport sign

How long is quarantine in China?

In many places in China, the quarantine period is now at least three weeks long (including centralized quarantine in a hotel plus a home quarantine period). Again, depending on your arrival city and which city in China you are heading to, it may be longer.

Additionally, Chinese quarantine rules are changing all the time, so we recommend double-checking what the most recent regulations are before you fly. The WeChat account “OneTube” published a list of the latest quarantine requirements in various provinces.

You can also search for their official account on WeChat to see any updates they publish.

OneTube official wechat

Useful Words and Phrases for Quarantine

If you are going through Chinese quarantine for the first time, you will want to know some of the terms you will likely hear. After all, you will be there for the better part of a month!


COVID19xīnguān fèiyán OR xīnguān bìngdú新冠肺炎 OR 新冠病毒
nucleic acid test (COVID test)hésuān jiǎncè核酸检测
positive (test results)yángxìng阳性
negative (test results)yīnxìng阴性
to take one’s temperaturecè wēn测温


Whether you do your quarantine in a hotel or another quarantine center, being able to communicate some of the basics to the staff is important.

Qǐng gěi wǒ ruǎn yīdiǎn de chuáng.
Please give me a soft bed.

Wǒ bù chī __.
I don’t eat __.

Wǒ kěyǐ diǎn wàimài ma?
Can I order take-out?

Wǒ fángjiān méiyǒu shuǐ/wèishēngzhǐ le.
My room needs more water/toilet paper.

What if I don’t like the quarantine food?

Quarantine hotels/centers in China will provide you three meals a day (for an extra fee of about ¥100 per day, of course. Yes, you read that right—food is not included in the base cost of quarantine in China).

If you think you will not like or will be otherwise unable to eat the food provided during your quarantine in China, you can always hope that the facility allows food delivery.

However, in case you wind up in a quarantine hotel/center that does not allow food delivery, we recommend packing your check-in luggage with as much food as you think you’ll need, and then some. Canned or dried foods, bread, crackers, peanut butter, trail mixes, protein bars, cereal, muesli, and other items that do not need refrigeration are good options.

Chinese quarantine food

Hotels will typically provide a kettle for boiling water in the room, which you can also use to boil pasta or noodles, if you want to get a bit creative with it. The hotel will likely only provide chopsticks, so you may want to pack your own fork, spoon, and knife too (though the knife may not make it through customs).

You can also pack a small electric burner and a pot, if you can fit them.

portable electric burner for cooking quarantine food in China

Now you know some useful vocabulary for your stay in Chinese quarantine. If you want to make the most of these few weeks stuck in a hotel room, sign up for Chinese lessons with us!