Villagers wearing masks and armbands stand guard and roads are being blocked by anything capable of stopping traffic to prevent anyone from entering Zhuangke, a village in the Hebei province, which borders Beijing.
“If we let in one (infected) person, the whole village would be ruined,” said Chen Shuyi, a member of the village committee.
A man wearing a face mask stands near a banner reading “defeat the epidemic” stretched across the entrance to Donggouhe village in northern China’s Hebei Province. (AP Photo)
Anyone wishing to enter must prove their presence is necessary and must testify they have not visited Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the virus, or other areas stricken with the pneumonia-like illness.
The virus has so far killed 132 people and infected more than 6,000 globally. Coronavirus cases have now surpassed the number of cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, in mainland China during the 2002-03 outbreak. However, deaths from Coronavirus remain lower.
In another village, Donggouhe, an electronic screen says: “No gathering, no visiting, prevent infection.”
“We’ve made it very clear that people and cars from outside cannot get into the village,” said committee head Wang Huijin. “Hopefully this can protect our people and also this can help the country.”
A man wearing a face mask stands near a barricade at the entrance to Donggouhe village in northern China’s Hebei Province on Wednesday. With barricades and wary guardians, villages on the outskirts of Beijing are closing themselves off to outsiders to ward against infection amid the outbreak of a new type of virus. (AP Photo)
The head of another village committee in Datun said the virus put a damper on the Lunar New Year, which began last week and has been a somber event across China amid fears the easily transmitted virus could infect party-goers.
“People stopped paying new year visits. Most of them stayed at home,” said Li Shulin.
The tactics used by the villagers are similar to ones used during the outbreak of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, in 2002-03. The disease originated in China and killed nearly 800 people. The current number of coronavirus cases now surpasses the number of cases of MERS during the outbreak nearly two decades ago, but the current death toll is lower.
Many airlines have scaled back service to China amid concerns of the outbreak. The Chinese government has locked down multiple cities to contain its spread and some countries have closed its borders with China.
The 5,974 cases on the mainland marked a rise of 1,459 from the previous day, although that rise is a smaller increase than the 1,771 new cases reported on Monday. Five cases were confirmed in the United States.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.