Residents of the Chinese city at the centre of the country’s coronavirus crisis fear they are ‘trapped’ and will all be infected because of the government lockdown which has stopped anyone from leaving.
Authorities today scrambled to shut tourist attractions and public transport systems in 14 cities in a bid to stop the spread of the deadly new coronavirus that has killed at least 26 people.
In a drastic turn of events, part of the Great Wall of China and Disneyland in Shanghai were closed today as authorities desperately try to stop people spreading the Wuhan coronavirus.
Thirteen cities, home to around 40million people, are reported to have followed Wuhan’s example and gone into some form of lockdown in the past 24 hours with public transport halted and roads closed.
A man living in Wuhan today told MailOnline people there are ‘all trapped’ and and he fears he and his family will become infected if they aren’t allowed to leave the city.
The man, who is not a Chinese citizen, is part of an international community who are all ‘panicked’, he said, and want to get out of the city before they are made ill.
A report published today warned China’s deadly new virus could have infected 350,000 people in a single city by the end of the month, according to experts who warn doctors are only diagnosing one in every 20 cases.
Scientists now say thousands of people might catch the virus without ever knowing they have had it, making it far easier to spread than was initially feared.
A second patient was diagnosed in the US today – a woman in Chicago – and 63 other people in 22 states are being monitored for possible cases . Across the Atlantic, British authorities have tested 14 people but all were negative – a small number of other people are expected to go through tests today.
Other shocking developments in the outbreak today include:
- Four people in Australia have been quarantined – two in Queensland and two in New South Wales – for testing
- Nepal has confirmed its first case of the infection, making it the 10th territory outside of China to do so
- Chinese New Year celebrations planned for this weekend have been cancelled in Beijing and Hong Kong
- Officially, at least 900 people around the world have been infected with coronavirus and 26 have died
- Japan has confirmed its second case and a fifth patient was diagnosed in Thailand today, Friday
- Footage has emerged reportedly showing military personnel guarding a train station
- Videos from inside hospitals show patients crammed into overcrowded corridors and laid on the floor
- Photos have emerged of Chinese construction workers starting urgent building of a new hospital in Wuhan
A man living in Wuhan, who is a foreign national and did not want to be identified, today told MailOnline he feared thousands of foreign nationals are in the city unable to leave because of the Chinese government’s drastic shutdown.
He told MailOnline: ‘Due to the recent lock down, we all are trapped now. Several international students and workers have families here. I also have a baby. The situation is very serious here. If they keep everyone inside Wuhan I am afraid we all shall get infected.’
The man said the government is using online channels and TV programming to tell Wuhan residents to stay at home and he feared officials would be angry at insiders for sharing information with the outside world.
‘People are panicked,’ he added. ‘It is advised by the government and university authorities not to go out, stay at home and call a hospital in case of having any symptoms.
‘Yesterday the government announced the travel ban and, soon after, people rushed to the markets to buy a lot of food for the next several days. Today, almost all the shops are empty and closed.
‘I am in contact with a big international community in Wuhan. Everyone is panicked.
‘Most of them are trying to contact their countries’ embassies for help… but no significant development has been made yet.
‘Everyone is panicked and wants to flee the China and go back to their countries or at least to move to a safer city in China.’
A report produced by researchers from Lancaster University in England, the University of Florida and the University of Glasgow, estimated that only one in 20 coronavirus cases are being diagnosed.
Dr Jonathan Read, a biostatistics researcher at Lancaster, wrote with colleagues: ‘If no change in control or transmission happens, then we expect further outbreaks to occur in other Chinese cities, and that infections will continue to be exported to international destinations at an increasing rate.
‘In 14 days’ time (4 February 2020), our model predicts the number of infected people in Wuhan to be greater than 250 thousand (prediction interval, 164,602 to 351,396).’
Dr Read told MailOnline: ‘The estimate we came back with was that one in 20 people becoming infected are getting detected and confirmed as cases. There is potentially a lot of people not recognised.
‘This could be for a number of reasons. One that springs to mind the most, common with respiratory and flu-like viruses, is a lot of people will get sick and never seek medical help. Unless you present yourself to a doctor or a hospital you won’t get counted.’
Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, said: ‘It’s winter – it’s an enormous city with lots of people with cold and flu. People would realise they were feeling ill, but not that they have the coronavirus.’
And Professor Paul Hunter, from the University of East Anglia, added: ‘If it’s [the virus] relatively mild, there is potential it has been spread in people that aren’t ill.
‘Any infection can range from making people really sick and then causing mild flu-like symptom. We can miss a lot of the mild cases.’
The fear of infections spreading fast led to dramatic shutdowns all over China today.
Shanghai Disney Resort posted on its website: ‘In response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety of our guests and cast, Shanghai Disney Resort is temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown.
‘We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and… announce the reopening date upon confirmation.’
A section of the Great Wall known as the Badaling section – one of the most visited parts – is closed to tourists, Al Jazeera reports.
The following measures have been taken to control the disease’s spread in and around China:
- Beijing’s Forbidden Palace, which hosts the Palace Museum, will be closed to visitors from tomorrow, Saturday
- The Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest, is closed
- A four-day carnival planned in Hong Kong, from January 25 to 28, was cancelled by the state tourism board
- Hong Kong’s Lunar New Year World Cup football tournament was called off
- All public Lunar New Year events in Macau, home to more than half-a-million people, have been cancelled
- Transport restrictions are reported to be in place in Wuhan, Huanggang, Ezhou, Zhijiang, Dangyang, Qianjiang, Chibi, Xiantao, Lichuan, Jingmen, Xianning, Yichang and Enshi
Source: Daily Mail