• Wuhan, a city in the Chinese province of Hubei with a population of 11 million, has been under an unprecedented quarantine since January 23 because it is the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
  • The coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, had killed at least 170 people and infected more than 7,700 worldwide – the vast majority in China – as of Thursday morning.
  • In just a week under quarantine, Wuhan has experienced food shortages, an overwhelming number of patients, and several evacuations of foreigners visiting the city.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Wuhan, a city in the Chinese province of Hubei with a population of 11 million, has been under an unprecedented quarantine since January 23.

The coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, had killed at least 170 people and infected more than 7,700 worldwide – the vast majority in China – as of Thursday morning.

The number of Wuhan coronavirus infections in the mainland officially outstripped those of SARS on Wednesday morning. The number of SARS cases on the mainland topped out at 5,327.

SARS, which also originated in China, had spread to more countries and killed nearly 800 people worldwide from 2002 to 2003.

That disease, which stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome, was caused by the same viral family as 2019-nCoV.

In just a week under quarantine, Wuhan has experienced food shortages, an overwhelming number of patients, and several evacuations of foreigners from the city.

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Developments in the coronavirus outbreak and how the city is coping paint a picture of panic.


People crowd into hospitals seeking treatment for coronavirus symptoms, which mirror those of pneumonia or the flu.

Foto: People waiting for medical attention at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital on January 25.sourceHector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

A doctor said thousands of patients were waiting hours to receive medical help as the coronavirus continued to spread at “an alarming rate.”

Source: Business Insider


The city is attempting to build two new hospitals to accommodate the influx of patients.

Foto: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visiting the construction site of one of Wuhan’s new hospitals on Monday.sourcecnsphoto via Reuters

Construction has begun on two hospitals in the city – the Wuhan Huoshenshan Hospital, which is expected to open February 3, and the Leishenshan Hospital, due to open February 5.

Source: Business Insider


China is sending in military doctors and medical workers from other provinces to assist local doctors and nurses with a staggering number of patients.

Foto: A medical worker attending to a patient in the intensive-care unit at Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan on January 25.sourceXiong Qi/Xinhua/AP

Medical professionals from other provinces are traveling to the epicenter with boxes of protective masks and other supplies to provide aid to Wuhan.

State media reported that the country’s central military command also sent 40 medical staffers to assist civilian doctors and nurses in Wuhan and expected to send more.

Source: South China Morning Post, Reuters


Hospital staff in Wuhan are treating so many people simultaneously that they have begun wearing diapers because they don’t have time to use the bathroom.

Foto: Medical workers in Wuhan on January 22.sourceSTR/AFP via Getty Images

Hospital workers in Wuhan are wearing adult diapers because they don’t have time to use the bathroom in between treating coronavirus patients, The Washington Post reported last week.

Medical workers are also wearing diapers so they don’t have to take off their hazmat suits – those who rip them while taking them off may not get a new one amid supply shortages.

Source: Business Insider; The Washington Post


As transportation into and out of the city is on lockdown with the quarantine, there are reports of shelves being empty at supermarkets.

Foto: sourceXiaolu Chu/Getty Images/Business Insider

When the lockdown was first announced, people began to stockpile food and resources in a desperate attempt to sustain themselves amid an unprecedented quarantine.

A woman from New Zealand, who was in Wuhan to visit her father for the Lunar New Year, told NewsHub about the conditions.

“It’s quite scary here,” she said. “There’s all kinds of rumors online and there’s a shortage of medical supplies. If we go outside, we cannot buy masks anywhere.

“There’s also a shortage of food,” she added. “A lot of shelves are empty.”

A video shows medical staff apparently in Wuhan saying there was no more food or drink left in the hospitals and asking for more provisions to be sent to the city.


City officials shut down local transportation like buses and trains and encouraged residents to stay home amid the outbreak.

Foto: A deserted street in Wuhan on January 28.sourceAssociated Press

Streets are eerily empty throughout the city as residents come to grips with isolation to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Source: Business Insider


Foreigners are leaving Wuhan in droves.

Foto: Passengers boarding buses at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California, on January 29 after being evacuated from Wuhan.sourceAssociated Press

US citizens boarded a flight to California from Wuhan. The passengers are being held at March Air Reserve Base in Southern California for screening for the coronavirus.

Source: Business Insider


Several countries have issued travel warnings to citizens thinking of visiting anywhere in China.

Foto: Members of the flight crew of a China Southern Airlines flight from Changsha in China wore masks as they walked through passport control upon their arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta airport in Nairobi, Kenya, on January 29.sourcePatrick Ngugi/AP

Several countries, including the US, the UK, and Canada, have warned against all nonessential travel to China to stem the spread of the disease, which has already been confirmed in at least 18 countries.

Source: Business Insider


The coronavirus outbreak caused cities across the country to cancel their celebrations of the Lunar New Year.

Foto: A picture uploaded to social media on January 25 by the Central Hospital of Wuhan showing medical workers with Lunar New Year signs in Wuhan.sourceTHE CENTRAL HOSPITAL OF WUHAN VIA WEIBO via Reuters

The novel coronavirus outbreak in China began in tandem with a significant holiday in the Chinese culture: the Lunar New Year. Cities around the country moved to cancel one of the most important cultural events of the year.

Source: Business Insider


The disease takes not only a physical but an emotional toll on patients as they are forced to be isolated from their friends and families.

Foto: Medical workers and security personnel stopping patients’ family members from coming too close to the Jinyintan hospital, where patients with pneumonia caused by the coronavirus were being treated, in Wuhan on January 20.sourceReuters/Stringer/File Photo

The Beijing-based therapist Candice Qin told The Washington Post that she talked to a doctor who was infected by a patient, saying the doctor was “devastated.”

Qin added that the doctor isolated herself in her apartment without telling her parents, feeling a “sense of helplessness and loneliness.”

Source: Business Insider


The city is experiencing a shortage of protective gear to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Foto: People lined up to receive free face masks outside a cosmetic shop at Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong on January 28.sourceAchmad Ibrahim/AP

Fears from the coronavirus are causing a high demand for face masks, so much so that Chinese officials warned that the country was facing a massive shortage of the protective device.

Experts, however, say the masks may not be that helpful in preventing the spread of the disease.

Source: Business Insider


Wuhan is not the only city on lockdown.

Foto: A paper sign on a red barrier said “No outsiders allowed” in a village in Hubei.sourceSky news

Shortly after Wuhan was put under quarantine, other Chinese cities were also put on lockdown. As of earlier this week, 46 million people across 16 cities were under quarantine.

The coronavirus has been detected in every province in China.

Source: Business Insider