It has been more than a month since Wuhan, and its Chinese province, Hubei, were cut off from the world, in an attempt to stem the epidemic of the coronavirus. Monday, the town hall of this city of 11 million inhabitants announced measures to ease this very strict quarantine for its non-residents. Before back pedaling.
On the spot, time is getting longer, but the inhabitants are getting organized. Testimonies of those who, by choice or not, stayed in Wuhan, the epicenter of Covid-19.
Frédéric Domeck: "There is no anxiety"
Frédéric Domeck, 54, could have chosen, like nearly 300 inhabitants of Wuhan, to be repatriated to France at the end of January with his Chinese wife and their 8-year-old daughter. "But I have not had a family there since my mother followed me to come and live here in 2012. My life is here," explains this 54-year-old French teacher from Lyon. He has therefore been patiently struggling since January 23, the day of the “lock-down”.
“Containment measures have been stepped up over the past week. Before, the city was divided into three large areas between which we could circulate, but recently, we have been forced to stay in our neighborhoods which are locked ”, explains the Frenchman. His own includes around fifteen buildings, according to him, as well as a market, two convenience stores and two pharmacies. Who are gradually closing their doors. The supply is now done by Internet and delivery to the bottom of his building.
VIDEO. Surviving Wuhan: "It feels like a post-apocalyptic video game"
“We have to order lots offered on the We Chat app. They include fruit, meat, pastries for 30 people, explains Frédéric. There are around 50 of them every three days, but since we are several thousand inhabitants, we sometimes miss the boat and we have to wait three days again to order. Until then, her family has been able to eat enough to eat thanks to supplies. But milk and yogurt sometimes run out.
If his wife, daughter and mother do not come out "almost not", the fifties has decided to lend a helping hand by delivering donations of food, masks, gloves, bleach, to hospitals in the city, with a group of volunteers. As soon as he leaves, Frédéric relates that he puts on "a jumpsuit, a mask, gloves and glasses". But for several days, it has been blocked. “I await a new pass from the Chinese authorities, to continue deliveries. So in the meantime, he continues to teach French to his daughter, who also takes courses on the Internet.
Newsletter - The essentials of the newsEvery morning, the news seen by Le Parisien
Your email address is collected by Le Parisien to allow you to receive our news and commercial offers. Find out more
He also communicates with other expatriates stranded in the city. "I am registered in a group of French people called Always in Wuhan , where we are 72 registered members". All are impatiently awaiting the end of the detention. “There is no anxiety, insists Frédéric, whose four neighbors in his building have been infected. We are doing what is necessary to reduce the epidemic. "
Authorities have told him that the end of the quarantine will develop in three stages. "As soon as there is no further contamination for 15 days, they will reopen our neighborhood," he reports. Then, it will take another 15 days for them to open another part of the city and another 15 days for all of Wuhan to be accessible. »Or at least two months of waiting. But the father is confident: “The contamination curves have finally reversed. "
Eva and Sarah: "Everyone wears a mask and we no longer trust each other"
These two Madagascan students arrived in Wuhan last October to study biochemistry, thanks to a thesis grant. They share from a room, within a T1 of the Hubei University of Technology, in this city which has become the epicenter of the very viral coronavirus. Since the quarantine of the city, time has passed at an infinite length for the two young women.
“We haven't been outside our university residence since January 23. Our university manages everything for us, it is the managers who do the shopping for us and we are forbidden to go out, "says Eva (the first name has been changed), 25, who deplores the fact that food prices have" tripled " . She and her roommate fear that their scholarships, paid by their country of origin, already "fair" on a daily basis, will soon not be enough.
"Our embassy did not offer us any repatriation or financial assistance solution to meet our needs here," says her roommate, Sarah (the first name has been changed), aged 28. She continues, saddened: “There are almost only African students left. The Chinese did not return after the Chinese New Year and the others, French, Russians, Americans ... were able to be repatriated. In all, she said, 50 Malagasy students and workers find themselves stranded in Wuhan.
The temptation to get some fresh air is great, but the anxiety of contracting the virus, which has killed more than 2,700 people since December, quickly takes over. "I want to go out but I'm afraid of being infected," reports Eva. We don't know what to do, sometimes we feel a bit depressed, because the situation is not improving. Sarah is even more anxious. "The virus looks very resistant, that's what scares me. I was really turned upside down by the death of the Chinese doctor who was only 34 years old, when we are told that the virus mainly attacks weak people. So we prefer to stay here. "
Young women say they don't really have a choice. “We are locked in our residence, we can only go out in the corridors to collect our groceries. We then meet students, but we do not interact with them. Everyone wears a mask and we no longer trust each other. Then we come back, we disinfect. It is also forbidden to go to other people's rooms. Anyway, we care about our lives… ”
According to them, a few days ago, some students led a sling out of the building, before changing their mind. So before the city wakes up for good, we have to take care. "The days and the nights are alike," breathes Eva. We communicate with our loved ones in Madagascar who are very worried, we cook, we do physical exercises to keep in shape and we work on our Chinese. Time is long, we are very bored. "