After more than two months since the city was first sealed off from the outside world in an unprecedented bid to contain COVID-19, China announced on Tuesday that it will lift the lockdown on the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, on April 8, after reporting no new cases for five consecutive days.
However, locals are painting a different picture that suggests that China is not being completely honest about its COVID-19 numbers.
Hospitals refuse to admit new infected patients
If a recently shared video by Jennifer Zeng on Twitter is any indication, the number of casualties in China due to the novel coronavirus pandemic may be way higher than the official figure that the Chinese government has released. Zeng apparently released a video of an infected patient who was denied treatment at an unidentified hospital in China as authorities wanted to maintain their "zero new cases" record.
"Hospital refuses to admit #CCPVirus patient as they want to keep "zero new case" record," she captioned the video. "Upset family starts a fight with staff, on March 23, Not sure which hospital."
The video clip appears to show a man being escorted out of a hospital by security, which later escalates into an altercation between the man's family and the hospital staff. The video has led to outrage on the social media platform with many repeatedly questioning the information shared by authorities' on number of new infections.
"Collective effort under a Communist autocracy: hiding the truth, spreading misinformation and trusting the party," wrote one user. "It's the powerless ordinary citizens who suffer the most."
"This is how the CCP keeps so many straight days with no local cases," commented another.
'Don't trust the zero new infections'
According to the Epoch Times, a local resident claims to have received a new notice from authorities stating that businesses could resume operations only after no new infections are reported in Wuhan for 14 consecutive days.
The source added that the local government wants businesses to start running as soon as possible and has told government agencies to do whatever it takes to make it happen. In an audio recording leaked on Twitter by a Chinese activist, the local party boss of a neighborhood committee in Wuhan's Jian'an district can be heard explaining to her community that it is not safe to go outdoors.
"I told you guys, the situation is not good. Don't trust the zero new infections. You won't know the truth if you are not at the frontlines," she says in the audio clip. When a resident told her that she shouldn't share this information, the Party Boss replied by saying, "If nobody tells the truth, we will become the second Li Wenliang."
Li Wenliang was one of the eight doctors who first warned about the possibility of a "SARS-like" outbreak that resembled severe acute respiratory syndrome, later acknowledged as COVID-19, in December 2019. Li was reprimanded by Chinese authorities for going public. He died of coronavirus on February 7.