Checkpoints in Wuhan are taken down, other cities in China ease controls

Linda Lew – South China Morning Post March 21, 2020

Man found dead on Wuhan street during the initial phase of the virus outbreak. Click to enlarge

Some in Wuhan, the Chinese city hit hardest by the coronavirus, celebrated with fireworks as authorities began removing checkpoints after reporting no new cases for a third day, while other places also eased restrictions.

The command centre handling the crisis ordered that the checkpoints – set up when the city was locked down in January to contain the spread of the virus – be cleared starting from Friday, as Wuhan prepares to return to work.

But routes out of the city would remain blocked, according to a notice issued by the command centre.

A video posted on social media by Dahe Daily on Saturday showed several checkpoints being taken down in Huangpi district, and fireworks being set off to celebrate the removal of one in Xinzhou district.

However, not everyone was cheering the development, with some of the city’s 11 million residents questioning how reliable the official data was.

Wen Ji, who lives in the city and runs photography classes online, confirmed that checkpoints within the city were being removed. But she doubted whether there really had been no new cases of Covid-19 in the past three days.

“I don’t believe this number – I think it’s safer to keep staying at home,” she said.

The crisis would be over when people could come and go freely from the city, according to Wen, who referred to a joke circulating online that “we know we’re healthy, they know we’re healthy … but no one is brave enough to let us leave”.

Andy Wang, a volunteer driver who has been ferrying medical workers to and from hospitals, said he was happy to see the checkpoints go and looked forward to being “honourably discharged” when public transport resumed and he was no longer needed.

“I can see Wuhan is almost at the point of victory, and life will probably go back to normal soon,” he said. “I hope all those who were fighting the epidemic can go home and reunite with their families.”

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2 responses to “Checkpoints in Wuhan are taken down, other cities in China ease controls”

  1. “Coronavirus disease 2019: the harms of exaggerated information and non-evidence-based measures”

    Dr. John P.A. Ioannidis, Stanford University, 19 March 2020 (hit the pdf tab)

    “Exaggerated case fatality rate (CFR): Early reported CFR figures also seem
    exaggerated. The most widely quoted CFR has been 3.4%, reported by WHO dividing the number of deaths by documented cases in early March.7 This ignores undetected infections and the strong age-dependence of CFR. The most complete data come from Diamond Princess passengers, with CFR=1% observed in an elderly cohort; thus, CFR may be much lower than 1% in the general population; probably higher than seasonal flu (CFR=0.1%), but not much so.

    Observed crude CFR in South Korea and in Germany8, the countries with most extensive testing, is 0.9% and 0.2%, respectively as of March 14 and crude CFR in Scandinavian countries is about 0.1%.”

    What Have Scientists Learned About COVID-19 And Coronavirus By Using Cruise Ship Data?
    Sr. Victoria Foster, Mar 22, 2020

    “Projecting the Diamond Princess mortality rate onto the age structure of the U.S. population, the death rate among people infected with Covid-19 would be 0.125%. But ]since this estimate is based on extremely thin data — there were just seven deaths among the 700 infected passengers and crew — the real death rate could stretch from five times lower (0.025%) to five times higher (0.625%). It is also possible that some of the passengers who were infected might die later, and that tourists may have different frequencies of chronic diseases — a risk factor for worse outcomes with SARS-CoV-2 infection — than the general population. Adding these extra sources of uncertainty, reasonable estimates for the case fatality ratio in the general U.S. population vary from 0.05% to 1%.
    That huge range markedly affects how severe the pandemic is and what should be done. A population-wide case fatality rate of 0.05% is lower than seasonal influenza. If that is the true rate, locking down the world with potentially tremendous social and financial consequences may be totally irrational. It’s like an elephant being attacked by a house cat. Frustrated and trying to avoid the cat, the elephant accidentally jumps off a cliff and dies.
    Could the Covid-19 case fatality rate be that low? No, some say, pointing to the high rate in elderly people. However, even some so-called mild or common-cold-type coronaviruses that have been known for decades can have case fatality rates as high as 8% when they infect elderly people in nursing homes. In fact, such “mild” coronaviruses infect tens of millions of people every year, and account for 3% to 11% of those hospitalized in the U.S. with lower respiratory infections each winter.”

    People under 70 without serious health issue have a marginal risk of dying from the virus. Whereas those over 70 who are frail and who have with significant health issues are of course in a relatively high risk sector.

  2. Yeah everyone is health again in a city with 10,000 5G antennas, highly polluted water and air. Nonsense!