An AFP team worked at the coronavirus’s origin place for eight days after a quarantine was placed by the Chinese government to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
The virus, that originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, has so far affected around 43,148 people and caused the deaths of 1,018. Out of the 43,148 diagnosed, only 4,372 recovered completely.
Believed to have transferred from animals to humans after a mutation occurred in the virus’s genetic material, a fish market in Wuhan has been recognized as the source of the ‘specie jump’ of the novel coronavirus.
Even after a few months of the outbreak, no definitive solution for the epidemic is available in the market yet. However, many leading pharmaceutical companies, including Novavax, AbbVie and Vir Biotechnology, are racing to develop a vaccine and devise a possible treatment plan for the infection.
An AFP team was present in Wuhan when the city was put under lockdown, along with several other Chinese cities, stopping the travel of around 56 million people. During the eight days the team spent in the city, it managed to gather a lot of pictures and stories as to how the life was from within.
A detailed account of the events, from the team’s perspective, was published on Wednesday. Giving a brief summary, every day brought its own share of tragedies.
Day 1: Lockdown
On 23rd January, the Chinese Government suspended all routes in and out of Wuhan. By that time, the coronavirus had affected around 500 people, killing 17. According to the AFP team, even though the news came as a “shock”, there was no unrest in the city, and many were seen wearing a face mask on the streets – as per the government orders. Overall, the streets, roads and airports were abandoned, with only a few souls seen here and there.
Day 2: New Year’s Eve
The New Year’s Eve was quiet and peaceful, with no excitement or hustle. According to the team, “Hours before the Lunar New Year, shops are closed and there is a ghostly silence hanging over the city.”
It further added, “The Qiaokou district and its famous Jinghan avenue look like they had been abandoned. All of the boutique shops inside an imposing business complex are shuttered by metal gates.”
Sharing the story of Wang Yanhong, a 53-year-old resident of the city, the eve wasn’t like it used to be since his son couldn’t make it home. He said, “This is the first time he hasn’t come home to celebrate New Year with us”.
Day 3: New Year’s Day
The New year’s day was mainly people running to pharmacies to grab whatever medicine for their symptoms. The previously crowded Guiyan Temple was closed as “No-one is allowed inside in order to prevent the virus spreading,”
Day 4: Hospitals
The hospitals were crowded with people waiting to get their symptoms checked. Since, people had to wait for long hours, some even brought their own stools and chairs. According to a feverish person, who had been at the hospital all night, “I’ve been going from hospital to hospital to hospital for two days”.
The summary of the 4 days shows clearly, the seriousness of the situation in Wuhan. Over the course of 8 days, the team had to help and work actively for the prevention of the disease, while also protecting themselves.