Coronavirus-stricken China has reportedly ordered a mass roundup of patients in Wuhan as the number of cases approaches 30,000. What's next?
The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is spiraling out of control as Chinese authorities turn to increasingly desperate attempts to stem the crisis.
The virus, provisionally known as 2019-nCoV, has infected over 28,350 people with 565 known fatalities according to the latest data. It has spread to 27 countries, including 12 cases in the United States. There is currently no cure or vaccine.
In response to the outbreak, Chinese authorities are turning to increasingly draconian measures. Videos are surfacing that purport to show Chinese police forcibly quarantining residents of Wuhan. And according to the New York Times, the Chinese government is planning a mass roundup of infected people in the city.
China is limiting access to ground zero of the crisis, forcing international media to rely on data from official government channels. Because of China’s history of repression, doubts simmer about whether the authorities are being completely truthful about the extent of the deadly outbreak.
The Lancet, a respected medical journal, published research suggesting the number of infected could be as high as 75,815. Several academics in Hong Kong corroborate these findings. And across social media, unconfirmed reports suggest the crisis is much worse than what is being reported.
Here is a video that purports to show a man being arrested for showing signs of illness in public:
Chinese authorities are also spraying what appears to be a disinfectant in cities across central China.
According to reports from the New York Times, senior Chinese officials have ordered the Wuhan government to “round up” and quarantine everyone in Wuhan who has been infected by the virus.
Sun Chunlan, a vice premier tasked with spearheading Beijing’s response to the outbreak, reportedly told investigators to go door to door checking temperatures and conducting interviews to suss out infected people who have not checked in with the authorities.
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 shame forever.
Plans for a mass roundup coincide with the completion of the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, which is scheduled to start taking patients today. The 600,000-square-foot facility was built in 10 days and contains 1,000 beds. But Wuoshenshan isn’t the only facility capable of housing huge numbers of infected people.
According to Al Jazeera, the Chinese government has broken ground on many similar facilities all across the country:
Other facilities include a 1,000-bed hospital in Shenzhen, a 300-bed facility in Xuzhou, Jiangsu, another of unknown size in Harbin, Heilongjiang, and an 80-room building being repurposed as an infectious disease hospital in Nanchang, Jiangxi.
Is China setting the stage for a nation-wide roundup of coronavirus victims? The evidence is hard to ignore. The fight to combat the epidemic could be entering unprecedented territory.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.