China virus fears prompt homemade barricades and online shaming - International | NTV

China virus fears prompt homemade barricades and online shaming

Thursday January 30, 2020



Villages and apartment complexes across China are taking the fight against a deadly viral epidemic into their own hands with improvised barricades and the online shaming of potentially-infected strangers.

The government has taken drastic measures to contain the spread of 2019-nCoV since it emerged at the end of December in a market where wild animals were sold.

More than 50 million people in and around the epicentre of Wuhan have been confined to their cities, while nationwide travel has been heavily curtailed.

Alarmed by daily reports of new cases across the country, ordinary citizens and local officials have buttressed these efforts with their own blockades, fearful that travellers from Hubei will infect their communities.

In one Beijing residential compound, a motley stack of shared bicycles have been haphazardly woven together and wired to a wooden ladder, blocking a side gate and forcing visitors to register with guards at the main entrance.

Staff at the Zhongfangli complex said the bike barrier was built at the start of the week to help them control the flow of people into the compound and stop the virus spreading to residents inside.

Photos of homemade roadblocks elsewhere in China have been shared widely on the microblogging platform Weibo.

In one image, a man wearing a surgical mask and brandishing a traditional martial arts weapon squats on a barricade in front of a village. A hand-written sign on the structure reads: "Outsiders forbidden from entering".

Another shows two elderly men in surgical masks, purportedly in coastal Shandong province, standing behind a cardboard notice instructing visitors to turn around and not enter the community.

A truck has been used to block the road into one section of Lianyungang city near Shanghai since Tuesday, a nearby resident said.

"Don't come back once you've left," locals were instructed, the 30-year-old told AFP.

In nearby Yancheng, a car ambled around apartment blocks blaring a recorded message that warned against contact with arrivals from the epicentre of the outbreak.

"If you discover someone who has returned from Hubei, notify the residents' committee immediately," a loudspeaker on the car warned.

Numerous residential compounds in Beijing have also asked their inhabitants to report any visitors from Wuhan, the city where the virus first appeared -- or simply anyone from out of town.