The Coronavirus has breached containment in Wuhan. As news filters out that many major cities in China are moving to quarantine and lockdown, the nation’s largest economic center and trade city, Shanghai, has also fallen to the pandemic and, as reported by the Chinese media,* has been placed on ”closed city” status.
At a press conference aimed at disease prevention, the Shanghai municipal government announced that a large number of the city’s 13,000 neighborhoods have been ordered to adopt “closed management” controls. This involves controlling the number of exits and entrances into the estates, security guards** to measure the temperature of those coming and going and keeping logs of all citizens. Mandatory isolation is to last for 14 days.
The story adds that “Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing” have all been placed under strict quarantine control, as the Coronavirus has spread beyond attempted containment in the Hubei region.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that the cases we’re seeing in China may just be a small part of the global picture. He tweeted earlier this week:
“There have been some concerning instances of onward #2019nCoV spread from people with no travel history to [China].
The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries; in short, we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg.”
According to credible sources, the number of infections in China may be anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000, and one professor from Imperial College London believes that the numbers could reach a peak of 50,000 new infections per day. That the local authorities across China may be covering up or downplaying the severity in their own regions is likely, signifying that cases of the infection are being vastly under-reported.
Infections in China are not expected to top out until mid-March, according to several sources. The expansion outside of China will lag by one to two months and perhaps longer. What’s happening in China right now may spread to Singapore, Thailand, Japan, or Hong Kong in the March-April time frame. How long before it spreads to India, Africa, Mexico, Western Europe, and more?
If China – with its draconian, military police state measures – is overwhelmed, consider what would happen in a free city like Los Angeles or New York.
In a shocking emergency order, China’s capital city of Beijing is now under pandemic lockdown or quarantine order, as reported on the Chinese-language Liberty Times Net (translated from Chinese):
“…today (Feb. 10) the Beijing authorities also issued a ‘epidemic prevention and control notice strict residential closed management,’ declaring that Beijing has also entered a ‘closed city’ state.
According to the notice, Beijing further restricted ‘community closure management,’ foreign vehicles and personnel are not allowed to enter, arriving in Beijing must also report health status, complete the registration of personal information.
Those who refuse to accept medical observation, home observation and other preventive measures, which constitute violations of public security management, shall be severely punished by the public security organs in accordance with the law.”
An estimated 80 Chinese cities are now under these quarantine restrictions, impacting hundreds of millions of people, exceeding the entire population of the United States.
Beijing’s population is currently around 20 million people. The Chinese capital is one of the 11 key cities that Chinese leaders demanded be protected, even if at the expense of other cities and regions. The fact that Beijing has had to resort to quarantine measures suggests the government has failed in its earlier efforts at limiting the spread of the virus.
Several scientists suggest the Coronavirus outbreak may be unstoppable, including Nancy Messonnier, who works for the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) and previously as an epidemic intelligence service officer. She was recently quoted in Bloomberg News, stating, “We are preparing as if this were the next pandemic” and reiterating that it “would be impossible” to fully contain the virus and prevent the outbreak from spreading. “Our goal is to slow this thing down.”
*Translation provided by LN’s Mark Angelides
**Most neighborhoods in Shanghai are “estates” that have gated entrances and full-time guards (usually retired gentlemen who live on the estate and take on the role for a rent reduction or small wage).
Read more from Loraine Silvetz, MSW.