5 Million Potential Carriers Have Left Wuhan As Coronavirus Appears To Mutate Into “More Transmissable” Form
Over the weekend, there were numerous media reports published in hopes of easing fears that the coronavirus spread was uncontained, and informing the general public just how seriously China takes its quarantine of no less than 17 cities and roughly 60 million people. Take this report from AFP, according to which Police at a roadblock on the outskirts of Wuhan turned away cars trying to leave the virus-stricken epicenter on Saturday, as other anxious residents trapped inside spent the Lunar New Year stocking up on masks and medical supplies.
“Authorities have prevented anyone from leaving Wuhan, the city of 11 million people at the heart of the viral outbreak which has so far infected nearly 1,300 people and killed 41 others” AFP writes adding that its reporters saw “a steady trickle of cars approaching the roadblocks around 20 kilometres (12 miles) east of the city centre on Saturday morning, only for police in fluorescent jackets wearing masks to tell them to turn around.”
The barricade, at one of the tolls for highways exiting the city, was blocked with red and yellow plastic barriers and cones.
“Nobody can leave,” a policeman told AFP.
Yet, but… there is just one problem: the much needed quarantine and lockdown were far too late, because as Wuhan’s mayor Zhou Xianwang revealed on Sunday during a press conference, about 5 million residents had already left Wuhan before the lockdown because of the deadly coronavirus epidemic and the Spring Festival holiday. As the SCMP reports, many of Wuhan’s residents had already left the city for the holiday, while others rushed out after the lockdown was announced on Wednesday night.
As a result, only 9 million people were remaining in the city after the lockdown, with roughly a third of it, including countless cases of coronavirus, having already spread across China.
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