As of 28 January 2020, 16 cities in Hubei Province have been in lockdown affecting a total of around 57 million people, roughly equivalent to the population of South Africa.
As part of the lockdown, the Government has restricted deliveries to Hubei Province to all but the ‘essentials’, including medical supplies and food. Wartime measures have been put in place to provide for the people of the cities affected, none of whom are allowed to leave their homes without cause.
However, reports are emerging that foreign students to find adequate supplies of food.
In the Kenyan media, it was reported by the husband of a Kenyan student studying in the city said that his wife is getting by on bread and water, and is losing weight. Despite appeals, the Kenyan Government has so far failed to evacuate its remaining citizens from the troubled city.
Similarly, Ghanaian news sources are publishing appeals from students in the city for the Ghanaian Government to evacuate them “because they have run out of essential supplies, including nose masks, food and water…”.
Meanwhile, in unverified reports, Pakistani students have also reported a lack of food. One tweet states says that 17 students at the China Three Gorges University hostel in Hubei Province have not had any food provided by the Pakistani Embassy, and that the ATMs at the University are empty.
In response, the Hubei Provincial Government website has encouraged foreign visitors to the city to reach out if they are in need:
Foreign affairs offices at all levels open 24-hour hotlines for expats in the province (the list of hotlines has already been put on media outlets). You may call for information and assistance. Please feel free to contact us when you are in need.
Chinese state television showed footage of a cold train bringing food to hospitals and quarantine centres in Yichang, Hubei.
187.5-ton food supplies from south China’s Guangxi arrived in Yichang, central China’s Hubei Province on Wednesday. All foodstuff are destined for local hospitals and quarantine centers. pic.twitter.com/waoKh5bUvB
— China News 中国新闻网 (@Echinanews) February 12, 2020
However, there have also been reports of dumping as farmers and distributors are unable to get food to market.
#CoronaVirus #COVIDｰ19 — #XiJinping‘s FM who accuses foreign countries of ‘overreaction’ should look what widespread lock downs will result when you fail to think about the consequences. China – 20200213 – unknown place – Farmers forced to dump their crops (and their income). pic.twitter.com/an903syf8C
— Ruud Wedding (@RuudWedding) February 15, 2020
Meanwhile, there have been attempts to move from people coming out for food to having food delivered to their doors.
Starting yesterday restrictions on leaving apartments in Wuhan got stricter. These are from a friend there who is no longer allowed to leave his building at all. The management company organizes food deliveries. Here they are sorting. There’s some ability to personalize orders. pic.twitter.com/XiMSEQSgI0
— Paul Mozur 孟建国 (@paulmozur) February 18, 2020
Chinese sources have also shown how food is being delivered to people barricaded in their own homes.
Isolated at home and unable to go shopping due to #coronavirus, some residents in a community in Huangshi, Hubei use buckets to receive fresh produce. Community workers buy food based on their shopping lists and deliver food in buckets through windows. https://t.co/48gBaw2Rkt pic.twitter.com/MMl5PlEFPB
— The Paper 澎湃新闻 (@thepapercn) February 7, 2020