- The deadly coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, has killed more than 630 people and infected nearly 31,000.
- On January 23, authorities in Wuhan shut down the city’s public transportation, including buses, trains, ferries, and the airport.
- Quarantine orders were extended to 15 other cities soon after, leaving about 50 million people on lockdown.
- Residents in Wuhan and other cities are turning to social media to cope with the challenges – and boredom – of life under lockdown.
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Chinese citizens are finding interesting ways to occupy their time under quarantine amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
On January 23, authorities in Wuhan, China, shut down the city’s public transportation, including buses, trains, ferries, and the airport. Quarantine orders were extended to 15 other cities soon after, leaving about 50 million people on lockdown.
Stories have emerged from these cities of overcrowded hospitals and empty supermarket shelves. As of Friday, the virus had killed more than 630 people and infected nearly 31,000, mostly in China.
At least 73 airlines cancelled flights to China amid fears of spreading the virus, leaving many people stranded.
Some residents in Wuhan and other cities on lockdown are coping with the grim circumstances through humour.
According to What’s on Weibo, an independent news site that monitors social trends in China, memes and videos making light of the deadly viral outbreak began spreading on Chinese social media from late January.
Manya Koetse, the editor-in-chief at What’s on Weibo, posted several examples of the comedic content circulating the Chinese web under lockdown.
Some people poked fun at the lack of medical masks used to prevent the spread of the illness by posting alternative protective gear, including inflatable costumes.
We've reached a point where people are starting to wear inflatable costumes on the streets to protect themselves against the #coronavirus. According to Chinese media, a medical expert said this is "unnecessary" and that washing hands and wearing face masks will do ???????????? pic.twitter.com/OvhOD76kum
— Manya Koetse (@manyapan) February 6, 2020
Videos and photos showed people using sanitary pads, bras, and even fruit to protect their faces from the spread of disease.
We've gotten to a point where I am seriously doubting if this is 100% serious, 100% joke, but I'm going for a bit of both. "We're out of face masks, so now I use this." #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/1LVuCFvYUo
— Manya Koetse (@manyapan) February 2, 2020
Other users posted videos illustrating the lack of activity in the streets of their cities.
How to survive staying indoors during #coronavirus lockdown according to these very important videos making their rounds on Chinese social media. Firstly: don't be afraid to express your feelings and get in touch with your emotions. pic.twitter.com/xd8yj73dtx
— Manya Koetse (@manyapan) January 27, 2020
One photo that went viral on WeChat purported to show grocery-store shelves in Beijing stocking condoms rendered empty as residents found ways to pass the time.
"What's the situation in Beijing like now?"
[Posts photo of empty shelves Durex condoms]
— Manya Koetse (@manyapan) January 28, 2020
According to the South China Morning Post, users of the Chinese social-media messaging app WeChat created a group of about 200 users dedicated to those looking for love under lockdown.
“The majority of the Chinese population are now staying at home with no work to do and no banquets or gatherings to go to,” Kecheng Fang, an assistant professor at the School of Journalism and Communication of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told the Morning Post. “I think that’s an important factor driving the circulation of humorous posts.”
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