China is taking drastic measures to contain the outbreak of a deadly new virus as tens of millions prepare to travel for the Lunar New Year. "Anything that limits people's travels during an outbreak would obviously work".
"I have a fever and cough, so I'm anxious that I'm infected", he said.
The first cases appeared last month in Wuhan, an industrial and transportation hub in central China. The open-ended lockdowns are unmatched in size, embracing more people than New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago combined. "Even if you're not ill you'll frighten yourself into getting sick".
Hundreds of cases of a new viral respiratory illness have been confirmed in China and elsewhere since an outbreak began last month in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The virus, which was first detected in Wuhan in late December, has already killed 26 people and infected more than 880 others in China.
Most of the cases are in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated late past year.
Several of the cities have populations numbering several million, led by Huanggang, which has 7.5 million.
Rail stations were shut, although trains were allowed to pass through the city, flights were suspended, and there were checkpoints on main roads in and out of the city. He declined to give his name.
As reports surfaced of bed shortages in Wuhan hospitals, state media said authorities were rushing to build a new facility devoted to the outbreak in a mind-blowing 10 days.
Prefabricated buildings were going up around a holiday complex originally intended for workers, set in gardens by a lake on the outskirts of the city.
- Hospitals in Wuhan are grappling with a flood of patients and a lack of supplies.
Earlier this week, several major USA airports, including San Francisco International Airport, had begun screening airline passengers arriving from central China for the virus.
It has created alarm because there are a number of unknowns surrounding it. It is too early to know just how unsafe it is and how easily it spreads.
Symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing and coughing.
The vast majority of the 850 confirmed cases have been confined to China, while all of the 26 reported deaths have occurred there - largely among older patients with pre-existing condition.
Three research teams are to start work on developing potential vaccines, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations said. The plan is to have at least one in clinical trials by June.
Some experts believe the virus is not as unsafe as the one that caused the 2002-03 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which also began in China and killed almost 800 people, or the one that caused Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, which has killed more than 700 people since 2012.
The Embassy of India, Beijing, in a statement issued on Friday said it was "in touch with relevant Chinese authorities in Beijing and Wuhan as well as Indians in Hubei Province, especially Wuhan".
Beijing has cancelled public events that usually attract throngs at temples during the New Year holiday, while the historic Forbidden City will close from Saturday.
Shanghai Disneyland will close from Saturday.
China is in the midst of its Lunar New Year holiday, a typically joyous time of family gatherings and public festivities.