The deadly coronavirus in Wuhan, China, has killed more than 630 people and infected nearly 31,000. On January 23, authorities in Wuhan shut down the city's public transportation, including buses, trains, ferries, and the airport.
Quarantine orders were extended to 15 other cities soon after, leaving about 50 million people on lockdown. Residents in Wuhan and other cities are turning to social media to cope with the challenges — and boredom — of life under lockdown.
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Chinese citizens are finding interesting ways to occupy their time under quarantine due to the deadly coronavirus. On January 23, authorities in Wuhan, China, shut down the city's public transportation, including buses, trains, ferries, and the airport. Quarantine orders were extended to 15 other cities soon after, leaving about 50 million people on lockdown. Stories have emerged from these cities of overcrowded hospitals and empty supermarket shelves. As of Friday local time, the virus has killed more than 630 people and infected nearly 31,000. At least 73 airlines canceled flights to China amid fears of spreading the virus, leaving many people stranded. Despite the grim circumstances, residents in Wuhan and other cities on lockdown are coping with humor. According to What's on Weibo, an independent news site that monitors social trends in China, memes and videos making light of the deadly viral outbreak began spreading on Chinese social media from late January. Manya Koetse, editor-in-chief at What's on Weibo, posted several examples of the comedic content circulating the Chinese web under lockdown. Some people poked fun at the lack of medical masks used to prevent the spread of the illness by posting alternative protective gear, including inflatable costumes.
We've reached a point where people are starting to wear inflatable costumes on the streets to protect themselves against the #coronavirus. According to Chinese media, a medical expert said this is "unnecessary" and that washing hands and wearing face masks will do 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/OvhOD76kum — Manya Koetse (@manyapan) February 6, 2020
Videos and photos showed people using sanitary pads, bras, and even fruit to protect their faces from the spread of disease.
We've gotten to a point where I am seriously doubting if this is 100% serious, 100% joke, but I'm going for a bit of both. "We're out of face masks, so now I use this." #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/1LVuCFvYUo — Manya Koetse (@manyapan) February 2, 2020
Other users posted videos illustrating the lack of activity in the streets of their cities.
How to survive staying indoors during #coronavirus lockdown according to these very important videos making their rounds on Chinese social media. Firstly: don't be afraid to express your feelings and get in touch with your emotions. pic.twitter.com/xd8yj73dtx — Manya Koetse (@manyapan) January 27, 2020
One photo that went viral on WeChat purported to show grocery store shelves in Beijing that stock condoms rendered empty as residents find ways to pass the time.
"What's the situation in Beijing like now?"[Posts photo of empty shelves Durex condoms] "This is the situation in Beijing."#wechat #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/DdEbLKkhOp — Manya Koetse (@manyapan) January 28, 2020
According to the South China Morning Post, users of the Chinese social media messaging app WeChat created a group of around 200 users dedicated to those looking for love under lockdown. "The majority of the Chinese population are now staying at home with no work to do and no banquets or gatherings to go to," Kecheng Fang, assistant professor at the School of Journalism and Communication of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told SCMP. "I think that's an important factor driving the circulation of humorous posts.SEE ALSO: How deadly is the new coronavirus? Research so far suggests the fatality rate could be low. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How groundhogs became the animal that predicted the weather
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A 4th Chinese citizen journalist was reportedly detained after livestreaming what life was like in Wuhan at the height of its coronavirus outbreak
A former lawyer was detained after livestreaming videos from Wuhan, China, that were critical of the...A former lawyer was detained after livestreaming videos from Wuhan, China, that were critical of the Chinese government, according to the South China Morning Post. Zhang Zhan had been blogging about life in Wuhan on social-media platforms like YouTube and Twitter since February. According to the report, the 37-year-old was accused by authorities of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble" and was arrested Friday. According to the Morning Post, Zhang is the fourth citizen journalist known to have gone missing after reporting on activities in Wuhan. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. A former lawyer was detained after livestreaming videos from Wuhan, China, that were critical of the Chinese government, according to the South China Morning Post. Zhang Zhan's friends told the Morning Post that her family had received confirmation on Friday that she was being held at a detention center in Shanghai. According to the report, the 37-year-old was accused by authorities of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble." Zhang had been blogging about her daily life on social-media platforms like YouTube and Twitter, which are banned in China. Her latest video, posted Wednesday, criticized Chinese authorities' attempts to contain the novel coronavirus. According to the Morning Post, Zhang had been living in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus had first emerged, since February 1. Zhang was in Wuhan while it was placed under lockdown for nearly three months as the number of cases in mainland China spiked. Zhang went missing Thursday, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, citing local reports. If convicted of a crime, she could face up to five years in prison, the organization said. According to the Morning Post, Zhang is the fourth citizen journalist known to have gone missing after reporting on activities in Wuhan. A human-rights lawyer named Chen Qiushi went missing in February after he traveled to Wuhan in January to record the situation. Friends and family of the 34-year-old said he was forcibly quarantined by the police, and he has not been seen since. Li Zehua, 25, was detained in Wuhan on February 26 and livestreamed his encounter with the police. He reappeared online in late April — nearly two months after the incident — and said he had spent two weeks "quarantined" in Wuhan as well as his hometown. The police arrested another person, Fang Bin, in Wuhan on February 10. In one of his videos, he accused the government of a cover-up. His most recent video was posted to his YouTube channel on February 9, and he has not been seen since. And last week, the Chinese human-rights lawyer Zhang Xuezhong was detained after posting a letter on WeChat criticizing the government's response to COVID-19. In his letter, seen by the Morning Post, Zhang said the handling of the coronavirus pandemic was emblematic of deep-rooted issues within the country's leadership. According to the Morning Post, he was released a day later. China is known for censoring criticism of its policies, and dissenters have been jailed or disappeared after making complaints. A Wuhan doctor named Li Wenliang died of the novel coronavirus after being silenced by the local police for trying to warn his peers of the possibility of a viral outbreak. He died February 7. Chinese government censors are working in overdrive to protect the party narrative regarding the new coronavirus, which was first identified in Wuhan before spreading worldwide. Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that the Chinese government was silencing coronavirus survivors seeking answers on what went wrong with the country's early coronavirus response.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What makes 'Parasite' so shocking is the twist that happens in a 10-minute sequence
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