Grocery prices in Shijiazhuang in northern China have soared by 50% as authorities started a citywide lockdown on Jan. 6 to stem the coronavirus outbreak.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has continued to fester in Hebei province, where most of the cases are concentrated in Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital city. The municipal government said on Friday that as of Thursday noon, it had recorded 48 new cases and 10 asymptomatic infections.
As the city concluded its second round of nucleic acid testing, a total of 247 positive cases were found, deputy mayor Meng Xianghong said.
Health authorities in Shijiazhuang are also setting up a 3,000-bed makeshift hospital in preparation for an imminent outbreak during the Chinese New Year period.
“A case was diagnosed on the 11th in Gu’an, which is only 30 to 40 kilometers away from me,” a netizen who lived in a small city 200 kilometers (124 miles) away from Shijiazhuang tweeted. “On the 12th, the residents had to be quarantined and tested. The bustling streets [of Gu’an] were all cleaned up. All entrances were nailed with iron plates.”
Due to the lockdown, many students are forced to stay in Shijiazhuang instead of returning home for their winter break. Many stranded students said that because they had nowhere to go, they had to stay in a hotel at their own expense, which furthered their financial burden.
Li Ding, a student from Wuhan University, is staying in a hotel near a metro station without being able to return to her home in Jinju, a county in Shijiazhuang, despite arriving in Shijiazhuang on Jan. 8.
Her family told her that the road from Shijiazhuang to Jinji had been closed, Li said, adding the hotel she was staying would be expropriated as an isolation point.
“I feel really heartbroken having to drag my luggage around, only to know I would get bombed out very soon,” Li said.
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