Barrie Trainor: 'Life slowly returning to normal' - China-based Irish golf professional

Barrie Trainor
Trainor tuned professional in 2005 and made the cut at the Irish Open in 2010

An Irish golf professional working in China says life is slowly beginning to return to normal as restrictions start to ease in the country where the coronavirus originated.

Barrie Trainor, who won the Irish PGA Order of Merit in 2011, has detected a few early signs of recovery in Beijing but has urged people in the UK to heed government advice and stay at home.

"It (lockdown) started here on 25 January and even to this day temperatures are still taken to get in to supermarkets and if it's over 37 degrees you don't get in. Every trolley is sanitised.

"It is pretty strict but with golf and on the sports side of things, it is getting freer. You are no longer told to stay at home, but to be responsible when you are out.

"Three weeks ago some of the driving ranges were allowed to open. It's only one person per two bays so there is a lot of space between the golfers.

"Everyone's temperature is taken on the way in to the driving range and they are checked going into the golf club as well. It is not back to normal but it is a lot better now."

Barrie Trainor
Trainor moved to China four years ago to work as a golf coach

Trainor turned professional in 2005 and made the cut at the Irish Open in 2010. He also played the opening two rounds in 2009 with Shane Lowry when the current Open champion won the Irish Open as an amateur at Baltray.

Trainor moved to China in 2016 to work as a golf coach.

He came home to Northern Ireland at Christmas to visit his family and when he returned to China on January 16, he had no idea how life was about to radically change.

'Anywhere you wanted to go you had to wear a mask'

Media playback is not supported on this device

Barrie Trainor moved to China to be a golf coach in 2016

"I hadn't a clue what was going on. I heard there was a flu-style little dose coming out in Wuhan and that it was quite bad, but at the time we couldn't have imagined what it was going to be.

"Only a week or so later the whole thing was taken over. Anywhere you wanted to go you had to wear a mask, in fact the first thing China insisted was that if anybody left their home they had to wear a mask.

"We were all told not to leave your apartment unless it was really necessary - really necessary in China is completely different to what I'm hearing is really necessary in Northern Ireland.

"Really necessary in China is spend as little time outdoors as you can, get your groceries and get back into lockdown.

"There are 27 million people in this city and there was nobody floating around whatsoever."

No new cases in Beijing for a month

Trainor has used the time during lockdown to start learning Chinese, admitting he has found it a positive exercise "rather than focussing on the complete negative".

"There have been no new cases in Beijing for a month now and I would have expected things to be back to normal by now, but China have a different set-up.

"They went through the SARS virus in 2003 so they know it is easy for it to come back, and they have kept certain restrictions quite tight.

"No-one knows when it's going to lift. We will probably get a message some day saying we don't need to wear face masks any more and they are not taking temperatures any more, and then it will be back to normal."

Everyone just stay at home

And his advice for people living in the UK and Ireland at the start of what is expected to be a very difficult few weeks?

"I would say try and do what we have been recommended to do here.

"The rules here were one person in each family was allowed to leave every three weeks to get their groceries.

"That was at the real height of the threat, when it was at its worst.

"I know it is not easy, but I would recommend to everyone to just stay at home."