ANU student, Helen Chen, went back to Wuhan to visit her family.
ANU student, Helen Chen, went back to Wuhan to visit her family.

Aussie’s nightmare in virus city

An Australian university student has revealed what it is really like being in Wuhan during the coronavirus outbreak after she travelled to the city to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Helen Chen, a student at Canberra's Australian National University, travelled to Wuhan about two weeks ago to see her family and has been unable to return back to Australia due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Ms Chen said the last time she left her parent's apartment was about a week ago and it was only a short trip to get necessary food supplies.

"I have been back for a couple of weeks. The last time I went out was probably a week ago, I think," she said in a video, distributed by Reuters.

"I wore a mask, most people were wearing masks and when my parents went out this morning to do groceries they wore masks as well.

"I made sure that they brought hand sanitiser and they wore gloves just to be extra careful."

 

ANU student, Helen Chen, went back to Wuhan to visit her family.
ANU student, Helen Chen, went back to Wuhan to visit her family.

 

China has confirmed there are now more than 6000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 132 deaths, with Wuhan being the epicentre of the outbreak.

Ms Chen revealed she has been passing the time by doing university assignments, while her dad has been watching the Australian Open and her mum has been watching TV shows on her phone.

She said not knowing exactly what was going was the worst part of the situation.

"We don't know what's actually going on because the CPC (Communist Party of China) isn't the best at transparency. So we are not really sure if they are reporting the truth or if they are under reporting the actual numbers," she said.

"I think just not knowing what is exactly going on and how long it is going to last, that's the most scary part."

The student noted there was also no one on the streets and the city was like a "ghost town".

 

 

She said she hasn't left her parent's apartment in about a week. Picture: Helen Chen/Facebook
She said she hasn't left her parent's apartment in about a week. Picture: Helen Chen/Facebook

Ms Chen also touched on how people had been responding to the outbreak.

"Times like this sometimes bring out the worst in people as I have seen a lot of comments online but there are also good people around," she said.

"A lot of people are donating food and people are volunteering to drive doctors and nurses around."

Melbourne horse trainer, Rui Severino, is also among the people who are currently in Wuhan.

Each morning he travels by car to the training centre where he works and has to have his temperature taken by security before he is allowed to enter.

"This is the entrance for the training centre. The security is here and we need to go through a health check. As you guys can see they are checking the temperature," Mr Severino said in a Facebook video.

 

Each person who enters the training centre must get their temperature checked. Picture: Rui Severino/Facebook
Each person who enters the training centre must get their temperature checked. Picture: Rui Severino/Facebook

 

"37.5C and they won't let me in so I have got to wait. As you guys can see they are pretty strict. They said because I have got a beanie on my temperature was 37.5 so they made me wait for a minute and it came down to 36.2C and I am ready to go.

"Everyone that comes in and everyone that goes out gets their temperature checked and then we have to go into a room, which is a special disinfection room."

Mr Severino told the Sydney Morning Herald anyone that has an abnormally high temperature gets "reported and taken away".

"We have to walk through a pool of disinfectant, which they change every day, for our feet, to clean them," he told the publication.

"They also make us go into a special ultraviolet room in order to disinfect us. We have to stay there for four minutes before we can leave."

A man uses alcohol to disinfect the grounds nearby the Wuhan Huoshenshan hospital construction. Picture: Getty Images
A man uses alcohol to disinfect the grounds nearby the Wuhan Huoshenshan hospital construction. Picture: Getty Images

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that Australians trapped in Wuhan due to the outbreak would be evacuated to Christmas Island where they will be quarantined for at least 14 days.

Australia's national security committee kicked the plan into gear on Wednesday but approval from Chinese authorities is required before it proceeds.

Qantas has offered its aircraft for the operation, to be conducted jointly with New Zealand.

Mr Morrison was unable to say how many Australians would be evacuated but said "isolated and vulnerable" people such as the elderly and babies would be helped first.

"I stress that this will be done on a last in/first out basis," he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

More than 600 Australian citizens in Wuhan have registered for advice or assistance.



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