‘Worse And Worse’: China Quarantines 11 Million People In Wuhan To Try To Halt Coronavirus Outbreak

Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
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The Chinese government has quarantined the entire city of Wuhan after 17 people died in a coronavirus outbreak that began there, the BBC reported Thursday.

The vast majority of corona virus cases are limited to China, where 470 have been infected and 17 died. Cases have been confirmed in Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and in the U.S. in Washington state. A doctor based at the Wuhan hospital described the feeling inside the city to the BBC, though the outlet decided to withhold her identity.

She wrote to the BBC:

Today from 10:00, all boundaries in the city were closed – no in or out. People are not allowed to leave. We don’t know how long this will last.

Normally, Wuhan is a great place to live. We are proud of our work as doctors, but I fear this is going to get worse and worse. There is no anti-virus medication, so we can only treat symptomatically – decreasing fever and with good hydration.

Right now, it’s all about precautions. People are getting phone messages from the authorities, with advice about precautions and what to do if you have symptoms.

Screening is difficult because of the one-week incubation period – people may be travelling without realising they have the virus. That means the actual figure of people infected is probably higher.

We plan on staying at home, not taking our son outside. We will focus on hygiene, airing the apartment and some light exercise to improve our immune systems. Some students had bought tickets to go home for Lunar New Year but they can’t go now. Everyone is stuck here and can’t leave.

Wuhan’s neighboring city Huanggang is also set to be put under lockdown at midnight local time Jan. 24. (RELATED: Airports Around The World Ramp Up Health Checks As Coronavirus Death Toll Rises)

Chinese authorities are scrambling to track down travelers who left Wuhan before the lockdown, testing people on airplanes and forcibly quarantining anyone infected.

The U.S. has designated five airports where new travelers from Wuhan must land for medical testing, including John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Los Angeles International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Coronaviruses “are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans,” the World Health Organization said in a statement to the Epoch Times.