Coronavirus Outbreak: China Orders Travel Lockdown In Three Cities
At a time when the Chinese rush home to celebrate Lunar, the Chinese New Year, most platforms in China's seventh biggest city, Wuhan are deserted due to the scare of deadly coronavirus.
All the railway stations in Ezhou near Wuhan, which has about one million residents, has also been shut down. Travel restrictions have been imposed on the smaller cities of Chibi and Zhijiang as well.
Road, air, water, and rail transport services from and to Wuhan have been suspended. Similar measures are also extended to the nearby city of Huanggang, which has a population of more than seven million, as of midnight.
According to a government statement, residents would not be allowed to leave the city without special permission.
The virus, which first emerged on 31st December has already claimed 17 lives and more than 570 confirmed cases have been reported. Countries all of the world have started screening travellers for signs of infection. According to air traffic data, approximately 30,000 people fly out of Wuhan on an average day.
More passengers leave using ground transportation like trains and cars. Over 500 Indian students study in Wuhan city's medical colleges in universities.
But most of them had left for home for the Chinese New Year and Spring Festival holidays. India issued an advisory last week against travel to Wuhan the, Outlook reported.
According to the latest media reports, 25 Indian students are said to be stuck in China as the country has locked down several cities to avoid the spread of the virus. Of the 25 students, 20 students belong to the southern state of Kerala. Another 14 students who were interning at a hospital in Yichang, had planned to fly to Kolkata from Kumming airport on January 23 or 24.
It is suspected that the virus has spread to the United States, Japan, South Korea, and several other neighbouring and distant countries from its source in South China seafood wholesale market in Wuhan.
The WHO has released a set of preventive measures that can be taken up by people. These include avoiding close contact with people suffering from fever & cough, washing hands frequently using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water and avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth.