After recent reports of the city of Wuhan being locked down and quarantined today, several other major Chinese cities, such as Beijing, have issued an official ban on all gatherings.
This news comes as the country is getting ready to celebrate its most important Chinese calendar celebration—that of the Lunar New Year Festival.
The announcement of the banning of any form of a large gathering comes on the heels of a massive effort to try and contain the coronavirus, which is rapidly spreading and is now being termed an outbreak.
On Thursday, Chinese authorities announced even more restrictions on travel outside of Wuhan and its surrounding municipalities. The shut down of travel in and out of the province is the latest attempt to quarantine its 25 million residents.
To put into perspective how grand a scale this is, Wuhan has more residents than the population of Florida here in the US.
As of this writing, here is what is currently known:
Along with the extreme measures of quarantine was the apparent aggressive use of censorship on any and all social media. The Communist Party was showing indications of struggling to control the outbreak, and as such, were aggressively censoring any form of criticism or skepticism as to the methods used.
A virologist, Guan Yi, who played a role in identifying the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), warned that a larger outbreak is as much certain. He estimated, on the conservative side, that the coronavirus outbreak could prove to be ten times bigger than the SARS epidemic proved to be.
Will this newest outbreak prove to make the SARS of 2003 look small by comparison?