Photos of stores in Wuhan show what life is like under the coronavirus lockdown

Stringer/Getty Images
  • Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, has been under lockdown since January 23. According to the South China Morning Post, there are roughly 9 million residents currently in the city, and about 5 million left before the lockdown.
  • Authorities shut down Wuhan’s airport and public transportation on January 23 and banned private cars in the city’s downtown area three days later.
  • As of Friday morning, the coronavirus has killed at least 213 people and infected more than 9,700 people in China. Cases have been confirmed in 22 other countries, including six in the US.
  • The quarantine and fears around the deadly virus have made Wuhan a ghost city. Residents only go out occasionally to stock up on supplies at supermarkets and pharmacies.
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Wuhan, the city in the Chinese province of Hubei that is the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, has been under an unprecedented quarantine since January 23.

Roughly 9 million residents are currently trapped in the city, and about 5 million left before the lockdown began, according to Hubei officials cited by the South China Morning Post.

The lockdown started on January 23, with closures of airports and public transportation in Wuhan. Authorities then banned all private cars in the city’s downtown area on January 26, according to China’s state-run press agency, Xinhua.

As of Friday morning, the coronavirus has killed at least 213 people and infected more than 9,700 people in China, and it is continuing to spread globally. More than 100 cases have been confirmed in 22 other countries, including six in the US. On Thursday, the WHO declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency.

The quarantine, traffic bans, and fears around the deadly virus have made Wuhan a ghost city. Residents only go out occasionally to stock up on supplies at nearby supermarkets and pharmacies.


Locals have been lining up in front of pharmacies to buy face masks since mid-January as officials confirmed that the virus could be transferred among people.

Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty ImagesA pharmacy in Wuhan on January 30.

Source: Business Insider


Pharmacy workers serve shoppers in full-body protective suits, face masks, and surgical gloves.

Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty ImagesA pharmacy in Wuhan on January 25.

Some photos of insanely long lines for face masks have gone viral on social media.

Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty ImagesA pharmacy in Wuhan on January 25.

Source: Business Insider


A shortage of protective face masks has been reported in Wuhan and other Chinese cities, as well as in countries like Australia and on online retail platforms like Amazon.

Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty ImagesA pharmacy in Wuhan on January 25.

Source: Business Insider, The New York Post, Business Insider


The lockdown happened just before the Lunar New Year, also called “Spring Festival,” the most-celebrated festival in China and many other Asian countries.

Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesA big supermarket in Wuhan on January 25.

The 15-day holiday mean that demand for supplies was already high, as households prepare family banquets and invite friends and relatives over to celebrate.

Stringer/Getty ImagesA big supermarket in Wuhan on January 23.

The city’s traffic bans and fears around the deadly virus further prompted citizens to stock up on necessities and groceries.

Stringer/Getty ImagesA big supermarket in Wuhan on January 23.

Shelves are reportedly clearing quickly after supplies arrive, though there hasn’t been a shortage of food in general.

Stringer/Getty ImagesA big supermarket in Wuhan on January 23.

Source: Reuters


Authorities have reportedly told farmers to step up food production and opened roads for delivery trucks to meet the daily needs of millions of residents.

Stringer/Getty ImagesA big supermarket in Wuhan on January 23.

Source: Reuters


Vegetables, meat, and instant foods often sell out quickly.

Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesA big supermarket in Wuhan on January 25.

Source: Business Insider


There are police guarding the entrances to big supermarkets.

Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesIn front of a big supermarket in Wuhan on January 25.

Masked workers disinfect the hands of customers before shoppers walk into the supermarket.

Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesIn front of a big supermarket in Wuhan on January 25.

Residents are required to wear face masks outside. Some are fully protected with glasses and gloves.

Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesA self-help machine of a supermarket in Wuhan on January 25.

Source: CNN


Zhongbai, a major supermarket chain with locations dotting Wuhan, is a key shopping destination for residents in the city.

Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty ImagesA Zhongbai supermarket in Wuhan on January 26.

Neighbourhood markets are also teeming with shoppers who want to buy fresh vegetables and meat.

Stringer/Getty ImagesA neighbourhood market in Wuhan on January 23.

At the same time, couriers have become major suppliers for the city due to the traffic bans.

Stringer/Getty ImagesCouriers in Wuhan on January 29.

Jingdong, a major online retailer in China that has its own delivery operation, has continued to provide speedy service in Wuhan during the lockdown.

Stringer/Getty ImagesA Jingdong courier in Wuhan on January 29.

Source: Weibo


The company has opened a special donation channel and has been delivering supplies to hospitals and charity organisations.

Stringer/Getty ImagesJingdong courier at the Wuhan Union Hospital on January 29.

Source: Weibo


Community workers check the temperature of the couriers frequently.

Stringer/Getty ImagesA Jingdong courier in Wuhan on January 29.

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