Residents of China’s coronavirus-hit Wuhan call for support

Some residents said they were on the “verge of tears” as they read news of the lockdown. (File/AFP)
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Updated 26 January 2020

Residents of China’s coronavirus-hit Wuhan call for support

  • The number of confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the new SARS-like virus is over 570
  • Some called on the government to provide more resources to Wuhan, saying there were not enough masks to buy and that food prices were rising

BEIJING: Wuhan residents called for help and shared worries of food shortages, with some on the “verge of tears,” after the virus-hit central Chinese city was put on effective lockdown on Thursday.
Planes and trains out of Wuhan — the outbreak epicenter of the SARS-like virus — were canceled, with public transport also suspended as authorities told residents not to leave in a bid to control the spread of the virus.
The search term “Wuhan is sealed off” had been read at least 510 million times on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform by Thursday morning with some 214,000 discussion posts.
Some residents said they were on the “verge of tears” as they read news of the lockdown, adding that their families’ lives were “threatened constantly and the target of online abuse.”
“We consciously avoid going out, disinfect diligently and wear masks,” wrote one user in a social media post.
“But there is a lack of food and disinfectants, and we need more resources. We hope everyone can understand that we are feeling as though it is the end of the world.
“We really need everyone’s help.”
Some called on the government to provide more resources to Wuhan, saying there were not enough masks to buy and that food prices were rising.
One user said: “Could the government help to resolve the issue of resources? Can we control food prices?“
The number of confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the new SARS-like virus is over 570, according to China’s National Health Commission, with most in Wuhan.
One video being shared on social media showed a bride in a nearby city wearing a surgical mask, and saying that all the guests who had visited Wuhan for work had been seated at the same table.
Lunar New Year celebrations begin Friday, and it is a popular time for weddings in China.
Another social media user, whose location was tagged as Wuhan, said she is skipping a reunion dinner this year and apologized to her family online.
Video clips of reporters from local news outlets, who were shown wearing masks on camera, made the rounds online as well.
Many Internet users from outside the city expressed sadness and concern for residents, urging them to stay safe.
Others expressed anger at the authorities, questioning why the city was not sealed off sooner.
Some blamed people in Wuhan for eating wild animals.
It is believed that animals are the primary source of the outbreak, and a now-closed seafood market in Wuhan where they were illegally sold is believed to be the source of the outbreak.
One user asked: “Do people enjoy eating wild animals that much? Hasn’t the lesson from SARS been enough?“


At least 16 dead as India airliner crashes on landing

Updated 50 min 3 sec ago

At least 16 dead as India airliner crashes on landing

  • The Air India Express plane from Dubai had 191 passengers and crew on board when it overshot the runway
  • There were 10 infants on board

NEW DELHI: At least 16 people were killed Friday when a passenger jet overshot and skidded off the runway as it landed in southern India, breaking into two pieces, officials said.
Dozens of people were injured, 15 of them seriously, after the Air India Express Boeing 737 originating from Dubai touched down in Kozhikode in heavy rain.
The airline said more than 190 passengers and crew were on board the plane that, according to the aviation ministry, plunged 10 meters (35 feet) down a slope off the end of the raised so-called table-top runway.
Television footage showed the fuselage of the jet ripped apart and surrounded by emergency personnel working in the dark, spraying the wreckage with water although there was no sign of any fire.
Sakeen K., the district medical officer in the nearby city of Malappuram, said that 16 people had died.
“We are still ascertaining the toll,” she told AFP.
Kozhikode official Seeram Sambasiva said that the two pilots were among the dead.
Senior local policeman Abdul Karim told AFP said that another 15 passengers “have critical injuries. It is still a developing situation.”
“We have at least 89 people, many of them with serious injuries, admitted at different Kozhikode hospitals. The ambulances are still coming in,” said Sujith Das, another senior police official.
“We have been told that all those who have survived the crash also have some form of injuries.”
Aviation regulator DGCA said the plane skidded off the end of the runway and “fell down in the valley and broke down in two pieces.”
Four people were still stuck inside the plane. media reports said.
One television channel reported there had been a problem with the jet’s landing gear.
Air India Express said in a statement that there was “no fire reported at the time of landing.”
It said there were 174 passengers, 10 infants, two pilots and five cabin crew on board the aircraft.
The plane was one of dozens in recent weeks to repatriate some of the thousands of Indians left stranded abroad by the coronavirus pandemic, many of them in Gulf countries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences.
“My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest... Authorities are at the spot, providing all assistance to the affected,” Modi said.
The last major plane crash in India was in 2010 when an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 from Dubai to Mangalore overshot the runway and burst into flames.
The crash killed 158 people and left eight survivors.
Kerala has been battered by heavy rains in recent days.
At least 15 people were killed on Friday after a landslide triggered by heavy rains flattened a row of huts elsewhere in the state.
Around 50 other people were feared trapped in the debris. The dead included two children.