On 12 January Huang got news his healthy 65-year-old mother had been checked into a hospital in the central Chinese city of Wuhan with a fever and a cough.
There had been reports of a strange new virus with similar symptoms, and the hospital staff were dressed in full hazmat suits. Still, Huang’s mother was not tested for the mystery illness, nor quarantined from other patients.
On 14 January she took a turn for the worse and was slipping in and out of consciousness. A CT scan showed her lungs covered in white nodules. The next evening, Huang’s brother and father watched her die. The official cause of death was severe pneumonia. Two doctors told the family privately that she had probably contracted the virus, but provided no documentation.
Quick guideWhat is the coronavirus and should we be worried?Show
The hospital pressured the family to immediately cremate Huang’s mother, but they refused, asking for more information. A few days later, they relented and workers from a funeral home, also in protective clothing, retrieved, cremated and buried her within a few hours, leaving the family no time to say goodbye. Afterwards, the staff disinfected the van they had travelled in and threw away their hazmat suits.
“My mother’s death was dealt with without any dignity,” said Huang, 40, who did not want to give his or his mother’s full name. “She wasn’t even counted as a number on the government’s list,” he said, referring to the six people authorities say have been killed by the virus.
China is on high alert as a new strain of coronavirus – first detected in Wuhan – spreads across the country. If hospitals are not screening for the virus then the number of cases, and deaths, could be much higher than those cited in official reports.
Authorities reported three more deaths on Tuesday: an 89-year-old male, a 66-year-old male and a 48-year-old female. The government has confirmed 308 cases, with 270 of them in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital.
Cases have been confirmed in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Tianjin, as well as the provinces Henan, Zhejiang and Guangdong. Suspected cases have been flagged in 13 provinces across the country – many of them hundreds of miles away from Wuhan. Fifteen health workers in Wuhan have also been infected, according to authorities.
FacebookTwitterPinterest Workers spray antiseptic solution on the arrival lobby at Incheon International Airport in South Korea on Tuesday. Photograph: Suh Myung-geon/AP
The number of confirmed infections is likely to have been underestimated, according to international public health experts, who say there could be as many as 1,700 cases.
On the microblog Weibo, another Wuhan resident posted images of her mother’s diagnosis of viral pneumonia and described the long queues of patients with similar symptoms late on Monday night, none of whom appeared to have been tested for coronavirus. “Could all these people suddenly have viral pneumonia?” she said.
Another Weibo user complained earlier this month that his father showed the symptoms of the virus but was sent home from the hospital without any screening. The post later disappeared.
The World Health Organization has said the recent rise in cases is a sign authorities are now more aggressively screening for the virus. It will consider declaring an international public health emergency – as it did with swine flu and Ebola – on Wednesday.
The Chinese political body responsible for law and order said on Tuesday that lower-ranking officials who covered up the spread of the virus would “be nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity”.
During the Sars outbreak in the early 2000s, China initially withheld information about it from the public and vastly underreported cases of infection. The virus, which was also caused by a coronavirus, killed 774 people.
FacebookTwitterPinterest A woman holds a child wearing a face mask outside the Beijing Railway Station on Tuesday. Photograph: Mark Schiefelbein/AP
Late on Monday, China’s National Health Commission confirmed that the new virus could be spread through human-to-human contact, heightening outbreak fears before the country’s week-long lunar new year holiday, which starts on Friday and during which hundreds of millions of people travel across the country.
On Tuesday internet users posted photos of shops with shelves emptied of face masks. The price of protective face masks sold online has at least doubled, prompting criticism from the state-run China Daily paper, which described the behaviour of sellers as “immoral”. In Beijing, many commuters wore masks indoors and on the subway.
Should the world be worried about the coronavirus in China? Read more
In Wuhan, authorities have begun to control the number of people leaving and entering the city, according to state TV. Guards are keeping a 24-hour watch on the now closed Huanan seafood and animal market, suspected as the source of the outbreak. Tour groups are barred from leaving and random spot checks are being conducted on vehicles coming in and out of the city to see whether they carry live animals.
Advice online has ranged from washing one’s hands to not using the self-service screens at McDonald’s. Some people said they had cancelled plans to travel home for the holidays. Some internet users posted notices from their employers giving them permission to work from home this week.
At the crematorium in Wuhan, Huang said he met one other family whose relative had died in similar circumstances.
He was not sure how his mother would have caught the virus. She had not gone to the seafood market, and was healthy and active. “Everyone said she was a good person – always helping people,” he said. “In the end, she died alone and no one had a chance to say goodbye.”As 2020 begins…
… we’re asking readers, like you, to make a new year contribution in support of the Guardian’s open, independent journalism. This has been a turbulent decade across the world – protest, populism, mass migration and the escalating climate crisis. The Guardian has been in every corner of the globe, reporting with tenacity, rigour and authority on the most critical events of our lifetimes. At a time when factual information is both scarcer and more essential than ever, we believe that each of us deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.
You’ve read 10 articles in the last four months. More people than ever before are reading and supporting our journalism, in more than 180 countries around the world. And this is only possible because we made a different choice: to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.
We have upheld our editorial independence in the face of the disintegration of traditional media – with social platforms giving rise to misinformation, the seemingly unstoppable rise of big tech and independent voices being squashed by commercial ownership. The Guardian’s independence means we can set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Our journalism is free from commercial and political bias – never influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This makes us different. It means we can challenge the powerful without fear and give a voice to those less heard.
None of this would have been attainable without our readers’ generosity – your financial support has meant we can keep investigating, disentangling and interrogating. It has protected our independence, which has never been so critical. We are so grateful.
As we enter a new decade, we need your support so we can keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. And that is here for the long term. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as CA$1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.
Великие Советы в конце
концов выиграют войну
导演 Craig Mazin 如此描述这部剧的主题：