Singaporean in Wuhan says grim view is inaccurate: ‘People are united, things are normal’
Little known just a few weeks ago, Wuhan has suddenly become one of the most talked-about cities in the world.
It is currently under an unprecedented lockdown after being labelled a no-go zone by the Chinese authorities, who pinpointed it as the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
The outbreak has killed 106 people and infected more than 4,500 in China, along with at least 60 people globally.
But anyone who paints a grim picture of the capital of Hubei province cannot be more wrong, said a Singaporean who is currently staying with family in Wuhan.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, the Singaporean businesswoman, who did not want to give her name or age, said that while the streets are quiet, people continue to go about their daily lives and there is no mass panic.
"We are all good. The supermarkets are still open and are well stocked," she said.
"The atmosphere is tense at the hospitals. Some people get scared when they encounter others who are sick, but other than that, things are normal.
"The people of Wuhan are united. People have been donating their masks to hospitals, which are short on supply."
She went to Wuhan to celebrate Chinese New Year with family and friends but is now unable to return home after her flight to Singapore was cancelled.
The virus was first detected at a wholesale and seafood market in Wuhan and the city was officially placed on lockdown on Jan 23.
"I didn't really understand what it meant for a city to be on lockdown because I have never experienced it," the woman said.
"It is a nightmare because I have many things to do in Singapore. People are waiting for me."
In recent days, several media outlets have reported that medics in hazmat suits were walking around the city and sick people were even collapsing on the streets.
A 40-year-old Wuhan resident, Ms Qiao Yichen, rubbished the claims.
Referring to the lockdown, she said: "Medical supplies and medics continue to come to Wuhan, and we also have fresh fruits and vegetables. If Wuhan was completely cut off, this would not be possible."
Ms Qiao is a volunteer at the Red Cross and helps coordinate the delivery of medical supplies to hospitals.
She condemned a video currently making the rounds showing dead bodies on a hospital floor not being cleared due to lack of manpower.
"Initially, the hospitals were packed because people would run to a hospital at the first sign of flu. It does not help that it is also the flu season in China... but the situation is getting better," she said, describing the video as fake.
"There are now seven hospitals and seven clinics in Wuhan for this virus. The situation is serious and we have to take it seriously, but it is not as scary as people think.
"The people of Wuhan are generally positive."