‘No one cares’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 25, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:43 AM, February 25, 2020

‘No one cares’

Locked-in Wuhan residents adapt to find food

The lockdown of Guo Jing's neighbourhood in Wuhan -- the city at the heart of China's new coronavirus epidemic -- came suddenly and without warning.

Unable to go out, the 29-year-old is now sealed inside her compound where she has to depend on online group-buying services to get food.

"Living for at least another month isn't an issue," Guo told AFP, explaining that she had her own stash of pickled vegetables and salted eggs.

But what scares her most is the lack of control -- first, the entire city was sealed off, and then residents were limited to exiting their compound once every three days.

Now even that has been taken away. Guo is among some 11 million residents in Wuhan, a city in central Hubei province that has been under effective quarantine since January 23 as Chinese authorities race to contain the epidemic.

Since then, its people have faced a number of tightening controls over daily life as the death toll from the virus swelled to over 2,500 in China alone.

But the new rules this month barring residents from leaving their neighbourhoods are the most restrictive yet -- and for some, threaten their livelihoods.

"I still don't know where to buy things once we've finished eating what we have at home," said Pan Hongsheng, who lives with his wife and two children.

Some neighbourhoods have organised group-buying services, where supermarkets deliver orders in bulk.

But in Pan's community, "no one cares".

"The three-year-old doesn't even have any milk powder left," Pan told AFP, adding that he has been unable to send medicine to his in-laws -- both in their eighties -- as they live in a different area.

"I feel like a refugee."

Authorities in Wuhan yesterday reversed a decision that would have allowed some people to leave the quarantined city at the centre of China's deadly virus epidemic, and reprimanded officials who had made the announcement.

Meanwhile, Mongolia bans flights to and from South Korea starting today until March 2 due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, weeks after closing its border with China over the epidemic.

Pakistan began quarantining at least 200 people near the Iranian border, officials said yesterday.

The quarantine announcement came hours after Pakistan sealed off its land border with Iran while neighbouring Afghanistan said it had detected its first infection.

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