- Wuhan has been completely locked down.
- Government officals attended a gala while hundreds have been infected.
- Wuhan will build a temporary hospital in a week.
Barely one month since its outbreak, the new Wuhan coronavirus has already caused 644 confirmed infected patients, 422 suspicious cases, and 18 deaths in China. However, with the arrival of the Chinese New Year and all the inevitable celebration gatherings, these numbers will just get higher day by day.
To avoid further expansion of the epidemic, finally, Wuhan has been officially locked down. All buses, metros, trains and planes have been stopped pending further notice. Across China, many sites have been closed and lots of popular celebration activities have been canceled. In Beijing, the Forbidden City will stop receiving visitors from January 25, the first day of the year in Chinese New Year 2020. The premier of several long-expected movies has also been rescheduled.
The seriousness of this new coronavirus has been greatly underestimated. Many Wuhan citizens didn’t start to wear medical masks until very recent days. People from other provinces are complaining that Wuhan citizens are very ignorant, traveling around like nothing has happened when hundreds of infected cases have been reported.
The shortage of medical resources in Wuhan is beyond the imagination. Many people are posting online claiming that they are experiencing related symptoms but they could not get into hospitals and there is not enough equipment to check if they are really infected. Under these circumstances, some people got out of Wuhan just to get medical assistance in other provinces, like the first confirmed infected in Neimenggu province.
Following the State Council of the PRC’s order, the Ministry of Finance has urgently allocated one billion RMB ($144.2 million) to facilitate the prevention and control of the new epidemic in Hubei province. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security has also stated that all medical workers that get infected during work will be considered as having suffered a work-related injury, which would allow them to receive work injury insurance benefits.
In 2003, Beijing built an isolated temporary hospital, Xiaotangshan Hospital, in just a week to receive patients from all over China, which was considered by many a huge success in stopping SARS from further spreading. Wuhan has already demanded that China Construction Third Engineering Bureau, the constructor of Xiaotangshan, design a blueprint of a similar hospital in the west of Wuhan before January 24 and to finish the construction in less than a week.
Many people have been deeply touched by a petition letter signed by a medical team that, during the SARS period in 2003, went up north to Beijing to give a hand in Xiaotangshan. In this petition letter, the team again pleads for their hospital to allow them to go to Wuhan to contribute.
Some are also questioning the competences of the government officials in Hubei. On January 21, high-level Hubei government leaders attended a Chinese New Year gala hosted in Wuhan. People are comparing it to the Hawaii trip of the prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, when half the continent was on fire. Many posts have called for the resignation of these officials when the epidemic is over.