Hangzhou, Nanjing, Zhengzhou, and several other major Chinese cities announced new rules on Feb. 4 to enact partial lockdowns, while newly-opened quarantine centers in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, drew widespread concern for its lack of protection from cross-contamination.
Zhengzhou City is the capital of China’s central Henan Province, with a population of 10.12 million as of 2018. Henan lies north of Hubei Province where many Henan residents work.
On Feb. 4, the Zhengzhou city government published the latest regulations to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The No. 9 rule requested all government departments, state-run companies, residential areas, and villages to close all their gates, but to leave an emergency passageway to allow people to enter and leave the premises. The passageway is guarded by security personnel.
Anyone who wants to leave or enter the residential area must fill out a form and have their body temperature scanned.
Visitors are not allowed to enter any residential areas or villages. Even a delivery worker can only drop off a package at a designated checkpoint and cannot have direct contact with the recipient.
Later that day, the Nanjing city government published its own regulations. Nanjing is the capital city of eastern Jiangsu Province with a population of 8.335 million.
Nanjing published the same rules that Zhengzhou enforced. But in addition, all stores, pharmacies, markets, supermarkets, and public areas within all residential areas will be closed; construction projects will be suspended.
Any resident who has traveled to the cities where coronavirus cases are confirmed must be quarantined at home for 14 days, and their body temperature must be checked twice a day.
On the same day, local officials in Hangzhou City implemented “ten rules” to all residents. Hangzhou is the capital city of Zhejiang Province and has a population of 9.8 million. Zhejiang is the southern neighbor of Jiangsu Province and Shanghai.
In addition to the same rules that Nanjing and Zhengzhou rolled out, Hangzhou also prohibits large gatherings, such as wedding ceremonies, to prevent the spread of the virus.
Other cities in Zhejiang Province, including Wenzhou, Ningbo, and Taizhou, launched more restrictive bans on their residents, such as only allowing one person per household to leave the house and run errands.
Although Zhejiang is far away from Hubei, a large number of its residents do business in Wuhan and other Hubei cities.
Many Chinese cities have launched similar forms of quarantine. For example, in the most northern Heilongjiang Province, its capital city Harbin closed all residential areas on Feb. 4. Linyi City in eastern Shandong Province launched the same rule on the same day.
In total, at least 38 cities in Guangxi, Fujian, Jiangxi, Henan, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, Heilongjiang, Yunnan, Chongqing, Ningxia, and Hubei provinces have launched restrictions on people’s travel by Feb. 4.
Wuhan Quarantine Centers
Wuhan City opened three quarantine centers on Feb. 4 to accommodate the need of tens of thousands of people who couldn’t receive hospital treatment.
The three quarantine centers are makeshift quarters built inside the Hongshan Stadium, Wuhan Parlor Exhibition Center, and Wuhan International Conference and Exhibition Center.
According to the provincial government-run media Changjiang Daily, any person who has mild symptoms or is suspected to be infected with the coronavirus must go to one of these three centers to get treatment.
There are 2,000 beds in Wuhan Parlor Exhibition Center, 1,000 in Wuhan International Conference & Exhibition Center, and 400 beds in Hongshan Stadium.
From the photos and videos state-run media released or netizen shared, all the beds are arranged one by one without physical barriers. About ten to twenty beds are walled off by a board about 7 feet high. Despite the boards, there are no curtains around each bed, and all patients are held in an open space.
Concerns about cross-infection became a hot topic in Chinese media on Feb. 4.
Jiang Mengrong, a medical expert from China’s National Health Commission, told state broadcaster CCTV: “Patients who live there only have mild symptoms, and doctors will make sure they won’t cross-contaminate.”
But on Weibo, a Twitter-like Chinese social media, Chinese netizens criticized Jiang’s statement and expressed their concerns about the makeshift hospitals. They even complained that official experts are not forthcoming with their information.
On social media, some netizens shared a video and claimed that health authorities are forcing suspected patients to go to the makeshift hospitals. The Epoch Times could not independently verify this information.
In the video, five men dressed in protective suits forced a man into an ambulance.
The Wuhan government first reported the virus outbreak on Dec. 31, 2019. It has since spread to all Chinese regions and provinces as well as dozens of countries.