Residents 'not worried' in China's pneumonia-stricken Wuhan

Residents 'not worried' in China's pneumonia-stricken Wuhan
Residents 'not worried' in China's pneumonia-stricken Wuhan

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Residents 'not worried' in China's pneumonia-stricken Wuhan in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - WUHAN, CHINA - Wuhan, the Chinese city known as the home of a new virus that has sickened dozens, killed one man and sparked international concern, is not an obvious holiday destination.

But Tian, a tourist from another metropolis around three hours' drive away, decided to make the trip despite trepidation from his family over reports of a mysterious pneumonia outbreak.

"I said I should be fine, so I came," he told AFP after checking out of his hotel on Sunday, wearing a face mask as a precaution nonetheless.

Residents of the central city seem just as unconcerned about the disease, believed to be from the same family as SARS -- an infectious coronavirus that killed hundreds of people in mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

So far 41 people with pneumonia-like symptoms have been diagnosed with the new virus in Wuhan, with authorities disclosing on Saturday the death of a 61-year-old man two days earlier.

The outbreak began just weeks before China's busiest annual travel period, and national plane and rail authorities are closely watching developments as millions prepare to visit family at Lunar New Year.

No clear evidence of human-to-human transmission has yet been detected, according to the local health commission.

Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in the city center -- where multiple pneumonia patients worked -- is still cordoned off after being shut down on January 1.

But multiple restaurants sharing the same building were open and serving customers early Sunday morning.

Initial reports about the virus had raised fears that SARS was back, prompting authorities to punish eight people for posting false information online.

While the outbreak sparked a run on face masks at pharmacies in Hong Kong, where scientists urged people to stay vigilant, few on the streets of central Wuhan were sporting masks this weekend.

Most of the guards stationed around the seafood market were not wearing protective gear, although one group of security staff who had entered the market area wore masks and hats and were instructed at a morning briefing to stay covered at all times.

Multiple people without safety equipment were seen exiting and entering the market, however, while some guards appeared more concerned about the spread of unflattering images than contagion.

One of them threatened to track down AFP reporters for filming a confrontation between the guards and an elderly man who wanted to enter the market.

The same guard said merchants had been allowed to enter the facility to check on their stalls, accompanied by security staff. -AFP


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