Supermarket shelves are empty and face masks have sold out as residents of city at the centre of the deadly virus hoard supplies and retreat inside. Huanggang: Second Chinese city under coronavirus lockdown
A sense of panic has spread in the central Chinese city of Wuhan as the city of 11 million was put on lockdown in an attempt to quarantine a deadly virus believed to have originated there.
On Thursday, authorities banned all transport links from the sprawling city, suspending buses, the subway system, ferries and shutting the airport and train stations to outgoing passengers.
Nearby Huanggang also suspended its public bus and railway system from the end of Thursday.
In Wuhan, supermarket shelves were empty and local markets sold out of produce as residents hoarded supplies and isolated themselves at home. Petrol stations were overwhelmed as drivers stocked up on fuel, exacerbated by rumours that reserves had run out. Local residents said pharmacies had sold out of face masks.
Few pedestrians were on the street and families cancelled plans to get together for the Chinese New Year holiday. Special police forces were seen patrolling railway stations. Residents and all government workers are now required to wear face masks while in public spaces.
“When I saw the news when I woke up, I felt like I was going to go crazy. This is a little too late now. The government’s measures are not enough,” said Xiao, 26, a primary school teacher in Wuhan, who asked not to give her full name
Some residents posted photos of their newly bought supplies of instant noodles and snacks on social media. “No more going out ... so I won’t get sick,” wrote one internet user on Weibo, adding: “Hope Wuhan can get some support soon.”
Others said the elevators in their apartment complexes were being disinfected, and that most of their friends and relatives in the city were also planning on staying in as much as possible.
Second Chinese city under coronavirus lockdown:
Huanggang is the second city to have major restrictions placed on it as authorities try to halt the spread of the newly-discovered virus.
With a population of more than seven million people, it's a major population centre - London, for example, has about eight million residents.
It's situated about 70km from Wuhan, the first city to be put on lockdown. Reuters reports there have been 12 cases there up to the end of Monday.
For residents of Huanggang, the bus and train networks will be closed at the end of Thursday, local time (five hours from now).
Citizens have been asked not to leave by other means, either.
And in the city itself, normal life is set to be disrupted, as public spaces like cinemas and cafes will be shut.