WINDSOR, ONT. -- Former Chatham-Kent resident Nikk Mitchell has been documenting his life in China through video amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Mitchell spent his childhood in southwestern Ontario before moving to the other side of the world at the age of 18.

“I dropped out of university and came to China for a job I found on Craigslist. It was to teach English,” he recalls.

Originally, his plan was to live in China for one year and then travel other parts of the world. However his plans changed after falling in love with the culture and people.

Now at 31, Mitchell is living in Hangzhou, China and is the CEO of FGX, a virtual reality video company. Hangzhou is the capital of China’s Zhejiang province. It’s approximately 800 kilometers away from Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus outbreak first emerged.

According to, the province has 1268 confirmed COVID-19 cases and one death.

Mitchell recalls his city shutting down schools, businesses and ordering residents to quarantine at the end of January when there was just a few dozen cases of the virus in Hangzhou.

“The earlier you act and the stronger the reaction is, the better the outcome there’s going to be. The reaction here was so early,” he says.

The shutdown caused a major damper on his company. “February and March we had almost no sales. We had companies who owed us money who didn’t pay us during that time it was hard.”

As the boss of 30 employees, it was the idea of his staff possibly losing their jobs that kept him up at night. “It’s that horrible thought of would I need to let people go and what do I do? All those things you never want to prepare for.”

Groceries were delivered to residents during the quarantine. Mitchell says this system worked well on most days, but there were times where the demand outpaced the supply.

“There was maybe a few days where the app I use to order my food would sell out in five to 10 minutes. I remember waiting at 6 in the morning for the moment that it opened to try and rush to get the purchase.”

Eventually, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. After a month of strict quarantine, Hangzhou was able to re-open at the end of February.

Mitchell says Hangzhou has been using technology to track the movements of possible new coronavirus cases. He carries a QR code on his phone that acts as health and safety card. Similar to Apple Pay, this code is connected to his mobile payment app and documents his location based on his purchases.

“If I went to a restaurant and three days later somebody tested positive had been at the restaurant the day before me. The app knows that I was there from my payment history and data. I’ll be contacted and informed that I should resume quarantine.”

Residents carry this code as a health passport when they go outside.

As life is starting to return back to normal for Mitchell, he wants to encourage his community back home in southwestern Ontario to stay strong and know there is an end in sight.

“One day this is going to be over.”