Wuhan — The Facebook post of a young woman highlighting the challenges the Wuhan people are facing now has gone viral, with thousands of people sharing her observations and heartbreak.
Ms Helen Chen, a university student in Australia, is stranded in Wuhan, unable to return to her studies. She writes: “I hope I’m not coming off as playing the victim. I’m merely trying to tell my side of the story. And I’m so sorry the virus has now spread to other countries. I truly am very sorry. But not all Chinese are bad people. Not all are selfish and entitled and just downright disgusting human beings. I don’t think it’s fair for you to say that we all ‘deserve’ it because of the terrible behaviours of some.”
Ms Chen referred to people saying that the city’s residents deserved what had befallen them and called that “heartbreaking”.
The virus is believed to have originated from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan and, because of this, there are those who have commented that the city’s residents deserved the outbreak.
The virus, detected late last year, has affected more than 2,700 people, with over 80 fatalities. There are also cases in Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the United States, France, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Wuhan, which has more than 11 million residents, was put in lockdown just before the Lunar New Year last weekend, which meant that people could neither leave nor enter the city.
I’m one of the millions in Wuhan right now who is affected by this. It is heartbreaking to see comments here saying how…
While Ms Chen admitted that there are some people in her city who eat and trade in exotic animals, most Wuhan residents do not do that. She wrote: “Most of us are just normal folks living a normal life. We are just as angry at those exotic animal traders as you are, if not more.”
She expressed particular anguish over the fact that the outbreak occurred right around the time of a holiday she describes as akin to “Thanksgiving and Christmas combined … For millions of people, CNY is the only time of the year where families get to reunite and have a home-cooked meal together”.
For families that live apart due to economic circumstances, she wrote, the evening before Chinese New Year is a reunion dinner that everyone looks forward to, and for this year it’s been taken away from them.
Furthermore, many people in the city are working tirelessly because of the crisis.
“Doctors and nurses are working around the clock, many of them have not gone home in weeks; healthcare professionals across China are flying voluntarily to Wuhan to help; factory workers have resumed work due to the shortage of masks and protective suits; 3M and other companies are donating masks too; hotels across Wuhan have offered free accommodation to healthcare professionals whose home are too far away; chain convenient stores are providing free hot meals to hospitals and workers; delivery man have to give up their holidays to deliver food to families because we can’t leave our homes; construction workers are working around the clock to build new hospitals …”
She asked whether all those working tirelessly to save lives deserved to get infected and die. “These unsung heroes are being lumped together with them, criticised, condemned and humiliated. It’s really heartbreaking. Those people don’t deserve any of it.”
Ms Chen then describes the situation in the city, and expressed fear of supplies and stocks running out. “My parents just came back from the supermarket and many shelves are empty. Public transport have shut down completely, from today onwards vehicles unrelated to the containment of coronavirus will not be allowed on roads too, no one is allowed to leave Wuhan.” -/TISG