Coronavirus: A dramatic escape from Wuhan’s lockdown | DW | 2020

The spread of the coronavirus in China is forcing many to lock themselves in at home. Those who traveled to the Wuhan area and managed to get out before the city was shut down are under close surveillance.

Ten days ago, Claire locked herself in at home after a dramatic escape from Wuhan. She had traveled to the city, where the coronavirus originated, to spend Chinese New Year with her in-laws. Then, the news broke that Wuhan would be locked down. Claire and her boyfriend escaped just minutes before it happened.

Since then they have quarantined themselves at home. “In the beginning, it was our own decision to stay in,” she told DW via videochat. But later the party state weighed in. “We started getting phone calls from the neighborhood committee and the local police station urging us to stay in.” They have to measure and report their temperature to the authorities every day. Claire is a pseudonym to protect her family and she didn’t want to reveal the name of her hometown.

China has been both criticized and praised for its response to the crisis. When the first cases of the disease broke out in December local authorities covered it up. Doctors who reported mysterious cases of pneumonia in chat groups were summoned by the police and threatened with punishment. Continue reading