Residents of Wuhan still wary of breaking quarantine

By Jesus Centeno

Wuhan, China, Apr 2 (efe-epa).- The strict quarantine that has kept the Chinese city of Wuhan isolated since 23 January has disrupted the lives of citizens some of whom still do not dare to go out.

Wang Yu, a piano teacher who just over two months ago regularly received students at her home, tells Efe that she prefers to stay at home despite the fact she can request a permit to go outside.

Residents of Wuhan, ground zero for the Covid-19 outbreak, can venture outside and use public transport if they have a green code on their Alipay app which verifies citizens’ state of health and includes details collected by local health authorities.

Yu is erring on the side of caution and waiting until at least 8 April when the city plans to fully lift the restrictions.

“There is nothing wrong with staying at home. People want to go out, of course, but they are very afraid of crowds and the possibility of another outbreak,” she says.

“You have to accept that the virus is not going to disappear soon,” Yu adds.

On 23 January the Wuhan government banned all citizens from leaving the city and ordered the closure of public transport systems like the subway, ferry and long-distance forms of transport.

The move came just a day before the Chinese New Year, the country’s main holiday season, which sees millions of people travel across the country to join their families.

Residents were confined to their homes and unable to leave residential complexes which were fenced off with giant yellow plastic fences.

Strict checkpoints meant only people with special permits could leave their homes.

The worst moment, Yu recalls, happened between late January and early February when uncertainty loomed and the outbreak was out of control.

“I had an operation and I didn’t know if I should go. I went to the hospital without knowing if I would get infected,” he says.

At the time, she preferred not to read the news “so as not to go crazy,” and decided to teach online.

“I had enough saved to survive. Now I have to earn money to travel. I want to go to beautiful places, to the beach, to try new gastronomy … mmm, I am starting to dream again,” she says with a smile.

The teacher says that the provincial capital of Hubei will need time to recover

“People can only wait. We have to be prepared for everything. For example, asymptomatic cases are a concern. Unless tests are carried out on everyone.”

Yu cannot understand some people who ignore the quarantine.

“What is more important, going for a walk or your life and that of those around you?” she ponders.

Himansu, a Nepalese medical student at the prestigious Huazhong University of Science and Technology, has – like many other foreign students – been locked up inside the campus since for months.

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