Coronavirus: HK law student living in Wuhan rarely ventures out these days, but sees no need to panic or leave

03-Feb-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

For Chen Yijing, a Hong Kong resident in Wuhan, living in the epicentre of an epidemic that has stirred fears the world over is not nearly as scary as some might imagine.

Chen, who is studying at Wuhan University’s school of law, was among the many whose Lunar New Year plans to visit family were dashed by the new deadly coronavirus. In her case, they ended abruptly with the January 23 lockdown of the city where the virus is believed to have originated.

But while Hong Kong mainland affairs chief Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said on Friday that the city government was exploring ways to help the 1,300 Hongkongers spread across Hubei province return home, Chen has no interest in leaving.

“While the streets are nearly empty, the situation in Wuhan is not that bad compared with when they first stopped public transport,” Chen told the Post in a phone interview on Friday.

She noted long queues outside supermarkets late last week, with people scrambling for goods amid fears of shortages.

“A head of cabbage was sold for more than 50 yuan (HK$56) in a supermarket, several times higher in price than on normal days,” she said. “Prices went down after the supermarket was criticised by relevant government departments.

“We seldom go out these days. The only purpose of leaving home is to go to supermarkets,” she said, adding that store supplies of daily necessities were largely steady and that she and her husband, a Wuhan resident, had stockpiled enough food for a month. Other difficulties the couple is facing are already all-too-familiar to Hongkongers.

We seldom go out these days. The only purpose of leaving home is going to supermarkets

Chen Yijing, a Hongkonger in Wuhan

“It’s very difficult to buy masks in the city,” she said. “We are lucky to have purchased enough stock of masks earlier.

“The only inconvenience we have faced is that takeaway is now only delivered at designated points in the district we live, rather than being placed at our doorsteps,” Chen continued. “Couriers want to avoid contact with people who order takeaway.

“We are not panicky while staying here. The situation in hospitals is not good and it was reported that medical supplies are running short,” she said. “It’s a blessing that we’re healthy and so far haven’t needed to go to hospitals.”

Chen said while she appreciated the government’s Friday announcement that it was discussing ways to help Hongkongers return home, it was better to prioritise those who have not been as lucky as she and her husband.

“The government should give priority to helping those Hong Kong residents stranded in Hubei to return home if they fall sick and fail to receive proper medical treatment in the province,” she said.

Her only worry at the moment, she said, was that “the date of resumption of classes at our university has not been fixed”.

Also among the Hongkongers stranded in Hubei is model Annabella Woo, who was trapped in Wuhan’s suburb after arriving in the city earlier this month.

She has updated her status from time to time on social media network Instagram, offering snapshots of the situation in Hubei, including one post describing how locals had not worn masks on the streets until the disease started to spread.

She said she was staying in a rural town about an hour’s drive by car from the city centre, and government staff paid regular visits to citizens to check their body temperatures.

“On this side, nobody paid New Year visits to their relatives. No people could be found on the once bustling streets either,” she wrote in a post on Sunday, “You can no longer buy Dettol [hand soap] in supermarkets, and face masks are very difficult to procure.”


Category: Hong Kong

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