The novel virus, called 2019-nCoV, has killed around 1775 people and infected more than 70,000 people, including 454 on a cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Japan. It has spread to at least 25 other countries.
The SARS Outbreak
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS, which emerged in China in November 2002, was also a coronavirus. Experts referred SARS as “the first pandemic of the 21st century,” since it spread across 29 countries. In total, 8,000 cases were recorded, and 774 people died by July 2003.
“It was all similar,” said one urban-design lecturer who attended college in China at the time of SARS. Fei said, “We were advised to stay where we were for two or maybe more weeks.”
Well, China’s healthcare system has changed significantly since the SARS outbreak. Over the past 15 years, the Chinese movement has expanded health insurance throughout the country.
Now, the 2019 novel coronavirus is serving as a test of whether those changes really improved in China. As the outbreak grows, Chinese people are reporting long lines at hospitals, a shortage of doctors, high costs for pharmaceuticals, and a lack of communication between the government and medical professionals.
As per the World Health Organisation data, China has less than two physicians for every 10,000 residents. During this outbreak, patients are facing hours-long lines to receive medical care.
Although Wuhan has built two hospitals from scratch. One with 1000 beds for patients and another with 1,600 beds. But the doctor reported being short on surgical masks and gowns.
The frustration of Chinese citizens is high!
One person posted a picture of her grandfather lying in the hallway of a hospital and wrote: “My grandfather has been having a fever for three days now, and no hospital is admitting him! Is the government going to let all of us die like this?!”
One young man from the city of Huanggang said in a video posted online on January 30: “I might be arrested after posting this video. But I still want all of you to know how dire the situation is in Huanggang, and we are in desperate need of help – the government doesn’t care about us anymore!” Although, that video has been taken down. The Chinese government closely monitors all information shared on the web. They keep deleting the posts that counter the government narrative and banning users that do so.
Zhu from Huangshi is alone and frustrated. Her family has canceled plans to meet her. She will spend the next week scanning updates on WeChat and trying to figure out what to do if anyone in her family catches the virus. The roads have been shut down, and the local hospital’s resources are limited. She said, “The hospital is full. There’s no way to get diagnosed. Your only option is to go to Wuhan, but it’s closed off. If you get sick, you can’t even get treated.”
That does sound really frustrating!
Did China want to hide the Coronavirus?
China is applying new horrible methods on people
Chinese cities have ordered their citizens to use QR codes to prove they are not potential coronavirus carriers when they go out from home. Residents in Wuhan, Hangzhou, and across Yunnan Province must now scan dedicated barcodes at the entrance of public places or transport stations to prove their health status. Isn’t that terrible?
The provincial capital of Zhejiang has classified its citizens into three groups represented by three corresponding ‘health codes.’ Residents who have not contacted confirmed or suspected patients are assigned a green code, which will allow them to leave their homes without restriction. Those who are under quarantine are given a yellow or red code depending on how many days they have isolated themselves. If they have just started their quarantine, they will be tagged with a red code; but if they have separated themselves for more than a week, a yellow code will be issued.
In one viral video from the city of Datong, an older man can be seen standing at the entrance to an elevator, spitting into his hand and then rubbing it onto the buttons. One woman was also arrested after she was seen on video taking a tissue to press an elevator’s button in the city of Chongqing — then putting it back into the box before spitting on the buttons repeatedly. In another case, a woman in the epicentre city of Wuhan was caught on surveillance video sneaking out late at night during the quarantine and spitting on a doorknob in her apartment complex. People described them as “A demon walking on earth and “a sociopath trying to take revenge on her own country.”
At this moment, we don’t know how severe the coronavirus outbreak will be and whether it could have been prevented. But, we do know that the world is not doing what’s needed to prevent the health disaster.
Has the Chinese government failed? What do you think?