We’re all trapped now’: Wuhan residents say they have ALL been left to catch China’s deadly coronavirus as city orders total lockdown – and experts issue chilling warning that thousands more could have virus and not even KNOW
- The Wuhan coronavirus has infected more than 900 people and killed 26 around the world so far this month
- Major cities and towns in China are cancelling public transport and closing roads to try and stop the spread
- Hospitals in Wuhan, the outbreak’s centre, have been ‘overwhelmed’ this week, experts said
- The government has ordered the six-day construction of a new hospital in Wuhan to deal with the virus
- Chinese New Year celebrations planned for the next week have been cancelled in Beijing and Hong Kong
- Report shared with MailOnline suggests 250,000 people – up to 350,000 – will have caught virus by February
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
Huge efforts are being made by construction workers in Wuhan to erect a new hospital in less than a week on the government’s orders. Officials said the medical facility must be built to cope with overwhelming numbers of coronavirus patients
Photos from inside the intensive care unit at Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan show medical workers caring for critically-ill patients today, January 24
News footage from China shows a patient being wheeled out of a Wuhan hospital on a stretcher by medics wearing protective clothing and masks
Police holding guns wear face masks outside the Beijing railway station this morning. The virus has so far spread to the USA, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan
Unverified video posted on Twitter appears to show a military vehicle on the streets of Wuhan, where roads have been closed and public transport stopped
Nepal today became the 11th country to declare a confirmed case, as the US and Japan confirmed their second cases, Thailand its fifth, and the global toll rose above 900
Fourteen cities across the Hubei province in China are restricting the movement of people – by reducing or cancelling public transport and closing roads – to try and stop the virus spreading
Shanghai’s Disneyland will close to visitors tomorrow for ‘the prevention and control of the disease outbreak’. Visitors wearing masks walk past the resort today which has taken the extraordinary step of closing during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday
An unverified video posted on Twitter claims to show members of Central Theater Command – a division of the People’s Liberation Army – standing guard outside a train station in Wuhan
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE CORONAVIRUS?
Once someone has caught the virus it may take between two and 14 days for them to show any symptoms.
If and when they do, typical signs include:
- a runny nose
- a cough
- sore throat
- fever (high temperature)
The vast majority of patients – at least 97 per cent, based on available data – will recover from these without any issues or medical help.
In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia.
Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.
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
Medical staff work in the ICU (intensive care unit) of Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan
Medical workers transfer a patient who is on the mend out of the ICU (intensive care unit) of Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan
Businesses around China – the world’s biggest nation and home to more than one billion people, a seventh of the world’s population – are already having to take drastic measures.
Seven movies which were set to premiere over this weekend have cancelled their screenings and 70,000 cinemas across the country have closed their doors, The Telegraph reports.
McDonald’s is believed to have ordered the closure of branches in five cities in the Hubei province, and clothing store Uni Qlo has shut down 17 stores in Wuhan city, where the outbreak began and is most dangerous.
Wuhan has now been in lockdown for two days, with residents told not to leave and forced to wear face masks. There is no public transport, major roads have been closed and the airport has been shut down.
Reports from the city described it as a ‘ghost town’ as streets were deserted at a time when millions would normally be preparing to celebrate.
And at least nine other areas have started to put similar measures in place.
Huanggang, close to Wuhan, is home to more than seven million people and yesterday announced it would shut down its public transport.
Movement of people is also reportedly being restricted in Ezhou, Zhijiang, Dangyang, Qianjiang, Chibi, Xiantao, Lichuan, Jingmen, Xianning, Yichang, Huangshi and Enshi, The Telegraph reports.
All these places are in the Hubei province, which is the epicenter of the outbreak – Wuhan is the capital. Hubei has a total population of almost 60million people – slightly more than England.
Hubei has by far recorded the most cases – 549 out of the total, according to China Daily – and all but one of the 26 people who have died died in that province.
WHAT IS THE SITUATION IN THE US?
Two people in the US have been confirmed to have caught the coronavirus – a man near Seattle, Washington, and a woman in Chicago, Illinois.
The man, who is in his 30s, is in hospital in Washington state, close to Seattle, and recovering well.
Authorities are also monitoring 43 people with whom he is believed to have been in close contact before he was diagnosed five days after returning home from Wuhan.
The Chicago woman, who is in her 60s, returned from Wuhan on January 13.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also testing another 63 possible cases in 22 states.
There are 10 people in California being held in isolation while they wait for test results, CBS News reports, as well as a Texas A&M student who had visited Wuhan and a student at Tennessee Tech.
Speaking on Wednesday, January 22, President Donald Trump he was ‘not at all’ concerned about the possibility of a pandemic.
‘It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control,’ he said.
‘We have it totally under control. We do have a plan, and we think it’s going to be handled very well.’
Dr Martin Cetron, of the CDC, said the US was planning a ‘very complex process’ of rerouting passengers.
He added: ‘With increasing cases, we decided to move into this full-on, 100 percent coverage strategy’.
The US announced it is pulling most of its diplomats and their families from the consulate general in Wuhan.
WHAT IS THE SITUATION IN THE UK?
Fourteen people have so far been tested for the Wuhan coronavirus in the UK, but no confirmed cases have been announced.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called an emergency meeting today to discuss the country’s response to the threat.
The last flight out of Wuhan (the city at the centre of the outbreak) to London Heathrow was met by doctors who screened patients getting off the plane to check whether any of them were sick.
Flights are no longer arriving from Wuhan and there are no extraordinary measures in place to check patients from other Chinese destinations.
More than 2,000 people are believed to have arrived from Wuhan since December 31, and health chiefs have today urged recent arrivals to call NHS 111 if they feel ill.
GPs have been told to ask anyone with flu-like symptoms if they have been to China – and then, if they suspect they have the coronavirus, to lock them in a room if they have and continue the consultation over the phone.
Scottish officials yesterday confirmed they were testing five cases in Edinburgh and Glasgow ‘as a precaution’.
Another man was being tested in isolation at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, and there was a suspected case in Hillingdon, west London.
Public Health England has still not revealed where the other cases are. Many are thought to be Chinese tourists.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday that there is an ‘increased likelihood’ of there being a case in the UK but that the NHS is ‘ready to respond appropriately’.
A second case has been confirmed in the US today in a woman in her sixties in Chicago, Illinois. The first American patient, a 30-something man in Washington state, is still recovering in hospital
People are seen passing through a quarantine tent at Beijing West Railway Station as 14 cities around China had special measures put in place today
Medical workers at Zhongnan Hospital are pictured in protective gear today, Friday January 24
A woman is pictured wearing a mask in front of the now-closed Forbidden City in Beijing. The building houses the capital’s Palace Museum but has been shut to visitors to stop the coronavirus spreading
Vietnam yesterday became the latest country to announce it had confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus. Pictured: The two Chinese tourists who were diagnosed speak to medical workers at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City
Builders in Wuhan, the city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, are scrambling to construct a brand new hospital in just a week over a national holiday (Pictured: Construction work today)
Government guards in Wuhan, where the outbreak began, check a car for illegally smuggled animals on January 24. The virus is believed to have jumped from animals to people
A man stands guard outside the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, which was ground zero for the outbreak at the beginning of this year. Photographed today, January 24
A man sprays disinfectant on a train in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea has so far confirmed one case of the coronavirus
CORONAVIRUS: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
What is this virus?
The virus has been identified as a new type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of pathogens, most of which cause mild respiratory infections such as the common cold.
But coronaviruses can also be deadly. SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, is caused by a coronavirus and killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in the early 2000s.
Can it kill?
Yes. Twenty-six people have so far died after testing positive for the virus.
What are the symptoms?
Its symptoms are typically a fever, cough and trouble breathing, but some patients have developed pneumonia, a potentially life-threatening infection that causes inflammation of the small air sacs in the lungs. People carrying the novel coronavirus may only have mild symptoms, such as a sore throat. They may assume they have a common cold and not seek medical attention, experts fear.
How is it detected?
The virus’s genetic sequencing was released by scientists in China to the rest of the world to enable other countries to quickly diagnose potential new cases. This helps other countries respond quickly to disease outbreaks.
To contain the virus, airports are detecting infected people with temperature checks. But as with every virus, it has an incubation period, meaning detection is not always possible because symptoms have not appeared yet.
How did it start and spread?
The first cases identified were among people connected to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.
Cases have since been identified elsewhere which could have been spread through human-to-human transmission.
What are countries doing to prevent the spread?
Countries in Asia have stepped up airport surveillance. They include Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines.
Australia and the US are also screening patients for a high temperature, and the UK announced it will screen passengers returning from Wuhan.
Is it similar to anything we’ve ever seen before?
Experts have compared it to the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The epidemic started in southern China and killed more than 700 people in mainland China, Hong Kong and elsewhere
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE MAILONLINE’S FULL Q&A ON THE CORONAVIRUS
SCIENTISTS WARNED A CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK COULD KILL 65 MILLION PEOPLE THREE MONTHS BEFORE CASES EMERGED IN CHINA
Leading US scientists warned a coronavirus could kill tens of millions of people three months before the deadly outbreak in China.
Scientists at the prestigious Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security said 65million patients from every corner of the world would die in the event of a global pandemic.
They modeled a simulation scenario last October which predicted it would take just 18 months to rack up the huge death toll.
Dr Eric Toner, a senior researcher at Johns Hopkins, said he wasn’t shocked when news of a mysterious coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan in late December.
‘I have thought for a long time that the most likely virus that might cause a new pandemic would be a coronavirus,’ he told Business Insider.
Coronaviruses typically affect the respiratory tract and can lead to illnesses like pneumonia or the common cold.
A coronavirus was also responsible for the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in China, which affected about 8,000 people and killed 774 in the early 2000s.
Dr Toner’s simulation of a hypothetical deadly coronavirus pandemic suggested that after six months, nearly every country in the world would have cases of the virus. Within 18 months, 65 million people could die.
To try and cope with the outpouring of patients, authorities at ground zero – Wuhan city – have ordered a brand new hospital to be constructed over the next week, which is supposed to be a public holiday.
And governments and airports around the world are screening passengers arriving from China.
Countries including the US, Malaysia and Singapore have introduced rigorous checks, with all passengers coming in from Wuhan are having their temperature taken, regardless of whether they have any symptoms.
International flights out of Wuhan have all been cancelled because of the virus’s spread, which has seen cases pop up in 11 countries/territories, most of which are in East Asia.
In the US, where two cases have been confirmed, authorities in Washington state are monitoring at least 43 people who they say had close contact with a patient from near Seattle. The second case was diagnosed in a woman in Chicago, Illinois.
Sixty-three suspected cases have appeared in 22 states and patients are in process of being tested.
There are reportedly 10 people in California who are being held in isolation while doctors wait for test results. A male Texas A&M University student who had travelled to Wuhan recently is also being tested, as well as a student at Tennessee Tech.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it would direct all flights from Wuhan to five airports and screen passengers at LAX in Los Angeles, JFK in New York, San Francisco International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta. It is not clear, however, if this has been put in place yet, Time reported.
President Donald Trump insisted earlier this week that the country wasn’t concerned about the outbreak and added: ‘We have it totally under control. We do have a plan, and we think it’s going to be handled very well.’
People wear masks in the Jingshan Park in Beijing today, January 24. New Year celebrations planned in the park will no longer go ahead
Posters have been put up warning people about fever at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea
In the UK, health bosses have urged hundreds of recent arrivals from Wuhan to call the NHS’s 111 helpline if they feel ill and 14 patients have already been tested for the SARS-like infection – all have been negative so far.
Doctors have also been told to ask anyone with flu-like symptoms if they have been to China – and then lock them in a room if they are suspected to be infected with the coronavirus.
More than 2,000 people have flown into Britain from Wuhan, the Chinese city on lockdown, since cases first emerged last month, it is feared.
Scottish officials yesterday confirmed they were testing five cases in Edinburgh and Glasgow ‘as a precaution’.
Another man was being tested in isolation at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, and there was a suspected case in Hillingdon, west London. Public Health England has still not revealed where the other cases are.
Anyone with the symptoms, who has travelled to the UK via Wuhan, will be tested for the virus and if cases are confirmed put in isolation at one of four UK super-hospitals: two in London, one in Liverpool and one in Newcastle.
The Russian government has stopped flights to and from Wuhan as a precautionary measure.
Two people in Russia, which borders China in the east, had to be tested for the coronavirus in St Petersburg, but there have been no confirmed cases there yet.
Everything we know we know so far about the deadly coronavirus in China: But how worried should we be?
The deadly coronavirus ravaging Asia is far more contagious than previously thought and someone who is infected can spread it with just a simple cough or a sneeze.
It has so far killed 26 people and infected more than 830 in at least 10 countries/territories within three weeks.
But experts predict the true number of people with the disease could be over 10,000 as they warn it may kill as many as two in 100 cases. Here’s what we know so far:
What is the Wuhan coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. It is an RNA virus (RNA is a type of genetic material called ribonucleic acid), which means it breaks into cells inside the host of the virus and uses them to reproduce itself.
This coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It is currently named 2019-nCoV, and does not have a more detailed name because so little is known about it.
Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: ‘Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals.
‘Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses).
Experts say the difficulty of containing the coronavirus is that so many patients have mild, cold-like symptoms and don’t realise they have the infection – but it can quickly turn deadly
‘Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.’
The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11 million people live, three weeks ago after medics first started seeing cases in December.