Sunderland man in coronavirus-hit Wuhan describes arrests as city lock-down tightens

A Sunderland man who chose to remain in coronavirus-hit Wuhan with his family says anyone who tried to break newly-imposed residential quarantines will be arrested.

Thursday, 13th February 2020, 1:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th February 2020, 3:34 pm

Chris Hill, who lives in the Chinese city with his wife, Caitlyn Gao, and four-year-old daughter, Renee Gao, said one person per family was permitted to leave his housing area every two or three days to buy food.

The restrictions come as China reported a spike in the number of cases of coronavirus, officially named Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation, which jumped by 15,152 to a total of 59,804.

The death toll now stands at 1,367.

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Sunderland man Chris Hill who now lives in Wuhan. Pictured wearing a mask (left) and with his daughter Renee Gao (right). Picture by: Family handout/PA Wire

"The whole city is on lock-down. They have medical personnel at the main gate of all housing places to make sure that no-one comes in or no-one goes out that's ill," Mr Hill said.

"Some instances I have heard of people trying to break through the residential quarantine. They got half way out but then they were tackled to the ground by medical personnel and police.

"Anybody that is caught trying to get out of the quarantine area of the buildings will be arrested for a criminal act."

Mr Hill, who is originally from Sunderland, says that following the final repatriation flight from Wuhan, communication with the British government had ceased.

Caitlyn Gao with her four-year-old daughter Renee Gao. Photo credit should read: Family Handout/PA Wire

He says now they’ve made the decision to stay he’s “here for the long haul”.

On Thursday, February 13, Mr Hill said the Chinese government had asked residents for full cooperation with medical personnel.

"They pick one person from each household that can go out every two or three days to get food, so it's many people going out together," he said.

Chris Hill's four-year-old daughter Renee Gao. Credit: Family Handout/PA Wire

"Supermarkets still get stocked. When the initial housing lock-down came into effect it was the same as when the city-wide lock-down came into effect - everyone went crazy and went out and stockpiled as much as they could."

He added that for he and his wife, who is a nurse in the city, the quarantine is "not really a problem".

Chris Hill with his four-year-old daughter Renee Gao. Picture by: Family Handout/PA Wire