Coronavirus: China’s drastic mass quarantine camp decision
Authorities in Wuhan have been ordered to immediately round up all coronavirus infected for mass quarantine camps, with a senior Chinese official describing the deadly outbreak as "wartime conditions".
Sun Chunlan, a vice premier in charge of the government response to the outbreak, gave the order to round up the infected and place them in isolation, quarantine or designated hospitals, The New York Times reports.
Authorities in the city of 11 million people have scrambled to meet those instructions by setting up makeshift mass quarantine shelters this week, including in a sports stadium, exhibition centre and a building complex.
Ms Sun said investigators should go to every home and check temperatures of every resident and interview the close contacts of infected patients. "Set up a 24-hour duty system. During these wartime conditions, there must be no deserters, or they will be nailed to the pillar of historical shame forever," she said.
When inspecting the Hongshan Stadium shelter on Tuesday, she said anyone who should be admitted must be rounded up. "It must be cut off from the source!" she said of the virus, according to Chinese news outlet Modern Express. "You must keep a close eye! Don't miss it!"
Posts circulating on social media have highlighted poor conditions at the makeshift facilities, with many complaining of freezing conditions, lack of medical staff and shortage of supplies.
Meanwhile, photos of exhausted doctors and nurses are being shared online in China, as the country pays tribute to the thousands of workers on the frontline of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
More than 28000 people have been infected with the novel 2019-nCoV virus across the world, but the vast majority of cases are concentrated in Wuhan, in the country's Hubei province, where the disease was first detected.
Since December, hospitals have been inundated with ill patients and medical resources have been stretched.
Photos shared on state-owned media showed tired medics slumped over desks and sleeping on floors of unnamed hospitals, still dressed in their protective clothing.
On social media, people have dubbed the workers "heroes" and "warriors in white".
"They've been fighting for us. They've been battling the virus. They are parents, they are also daughters and sons," the Communist party's newspaper, People's Daily wrote.
Nurses take off their face masks after a grueling shift in fight with novel #coronavirus, touching the hearts of millions on Chinese social media. Salute to these angels!#EverydayHero ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/BiO7E3PfGR— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) February 5, 2020
Earlier this week, photos also emerged of the marks and sores left on nurses' faces after hours of wearing face masks.
Agonising footage also showed workers in Wuhan breaking down screaming and crying over a lack of sleep.
ANGER OVER 'STOLEN' MASKS
It comes as a second new hospital with 1500 beds built specially for treating virus patients opened in China on Thursday.
Clinical trials for a new antiviral drug, Remdesivir, were also expected to begin.
But towns and cities are still scrambling for medical supplies, in particular protective masks, with one city accusing another of intercepting and 'stealing' a vital shipment on Thursday.
The shipment had been bound for Chongqing - a municipality with 400 cases - but was taken by the government of Dali - a city with only eight confirmed cases in the southwestern province of Yunnan - according to state media.
Chongqing told Dali to give them back, but the Dali government said it had already distributed the 598 boxes of masks and so could not retrieve them.
The spat prompted widespread anger on China's social media, with many users accusing Dali of theft.
Wuhan, meanwhile, has called on public support for protective supplies such as masks and suits.
#coronavirus. Photos of frontline medics after they took off their masks; some wore masks for 12 hours at a stretch. 12 HOURS. Netizens hailing them as heroes as the Chinese govt glosses over lapses in alerting its own citizens over a spreading, deadly virus. @htTweets pic.twitter.com/1eKdd1s9Mf— SutirthoPatranobis 李学华 (@spatranobis) February 6, 2020
The unsung heroes of #wuhan. Medical workers fighting the #coronavirus on the front line working non stop fell asleep without taking off their protective suits.@GlenGilmore @helene_wpli @YuHelenYu @HeinzVHoenen @AmandaRay02 @NevilleGaunt @psb_dc @debraruh @kashthefuturist @AkwyZ pic.twitter.com/PsZAVwauEB— Alvin Foo #MWC20 (@alvinfoo) January 30, 2020