Coronavirus outbreak: Irish man trapped in Wuhan describes "ghost town" scenes

25 January 2020, 12:37 | Updated: 25 January 2020, 12:41

Ben Kavangh wears swimming goggles and two masks to do the shopping in Wuhan.

Ben Kavanagh, an Irish teacher working in Wuhan, said: "Well, it's usually quite a vibrant city. 11 million people, you know, more than London but you wouldn't know it.

"It's like a ghost town when you look out the window. Everyone is suspicious of other people. If you hear a cough, you're immediately like 'oh, no, what's that?' kind of thing."

He continued: "You are allowed out but there's just the fear factor has risen so much that you don't want to go out unless you really have to.

"I went out for about 10 minutes yesterday just to get the bare necessities, like toilet paper and other toiletries like that, but I'll have to go out again tomorrow for a massive food shop because in the last hour or so, we found out that all transport had already been shut down but now even cars, they're all gone.

"So better safe than sorry tomorrow."

Cars, Kavanagh said, won't be allowed to be used from midnight tonight.

Kavanagh later said: "Only in the last three, four or five days, people have really begun to be like 'okay, this is a very serious disease, ee need to take this a lot more seriously'.

"Since then, everything has shut down. Now it's unrecognisable, the city. You would not know that today is Chinese New Year, one of the biggest celebrations in the calendar."

He explained how the city is "just empty".

Coronavirus outbreak: Irish man trapped in Wuhan describes "ghost town" scenes
Coronavirus outbreak: Irish man trapped in Wuhan describes "ghost town" scenes. Picture: PA

Kavanagh said that he'd heard rumours of being able to escape on old country roads but he doesn't have a car to be able to.

He said: "I doubt I'll be getting out of this city until it's all over and we have no idea how long that could be."

Later describing the scene, he said: "It's so hard to comprehend, there's nothing like it. It's as if it's a movie."

When he goes out, he said he wears two masks and goggles.