The city of Tianmen in Hubei Province was locked down the day after Wuhan was put under quarantine. Mr. and Mrs. Liu are both from Hebei. They have been trapped in Tianmen due to stringent travel rules that make it difficult for them to leave the city.
Mr. Liu: Tianmen requires a special permit for traveling outside Hubei. Those who need to leave the province must first obtain proof of their destination from the local authorities there. People have complained about this rule on social media. Local governments in other provinces don’t require this type of documentation. My wife, for example, has a back-to-work notice from the local health department. She’s needed during the epidemic to monitor body temperature at checkpoints. But she’s not allowed to leave Tianmen unless she can provide documentation from the local authorities. This travel permit stuff has become a hurdle for us. This procedure is unjustified.
The rules are very strict for us in the city, even dogs can’t go out of the compounds. Local officials know this. We have been trapped here for so long.
Ms. Li grew up in Xinjiang. She went to Tianmen from Kunshan, Jiangsu province to handle family affairs prior to the Chinese New Year. She is now trapped in Tianmen. Her mother has been on medication for stroke and the supply is running low. Ms. Li is stressed out because she has no source of income and has various loans to pay off.
Ms. Li: Healthy people are stranded in Hubei, not being able to go back to where they should be. This is a huge problem.
What problem? We have been stranded for more than 40 days. Many of us have no source of income and we racked up debt that we can’t pay off. We’re under great pressure. I hope the government can differentiate the healthy people from the infected. There are many solutions. Why do we have to be trapped for so long? All people are trapped here for so long. It is mind boggling.
Honestly, I tweeted because I can’t stand it anymore. I felt there were other people feeling hopeless because of issues related to the epidemic. There were people talking about their problems in the chat room. I have not really seen anyone committing suicide. But there were people talking about it.
I’m a food blogger on Weibo. I make tutorials. Now I’m stuck here, there is no way to work. In fact, our company is relatively alright. But they won’t like it if I post things about the epidemic on my Weibo account. So I use my personal account to post question about the epidemic. But I hope more people can see it.
I’m constantly calling 12345 (mayor’s hotline), both Hubei and Jiangsu. I want to go back to Jiangsu but I have to pay a quarantine fee. I am very clear about the fee now. In Shanghai, it is 150 yuan ($21.57) a day, 340 yuan ($48.90) in Kunshan, Jiangsu, and about 1000 yuan ($143.84) in Zhejiang. The high quarantine fees makes me wonder if the government is just taking advantage of the people.
What was the initial idea behind it? The local authorities could have just separated the healthy people from those who are infected by the virus. But this countermeasure is too expensive. Many people cannot afford it. There’s no money to be made by staying at home. You know what it means.
This year I came back for setting the tombstone for my father. My mother wanted to return to Xinjiang on February 14, but is also trapped here. My mother is also struggling. She is on medication for early stages of stroke. Once the medicine is gone, the consequences are unthinkable. This is a serious issue.
Now I just want to say that Hubei and Wuhan cannot be judged by one standard. I am not talking about regional discrimination. Wuhan is a severely affected area. It should not be hard if the government can gradually lift the quarantine according to the risk level.
In terms of Tianmen alone, no one is allowed to leave the city. You must go to the petition bureau and go through some formalities to get permission to leave. But local authorities would try to dissuade you. Plus, you risk getting infected while waiting in line and being in close contact with other people at the petition bureau. Tianmen’s epidemic prevention headquarters will not let you leave. They won’t let us leave until there are documents from the province.