China coronavirus: Villages build walls and checkpoints to stop outsiders spreading infection

28 January 2020, 07:05 | Updated: 28 January 2020, 09:11

Small villages in China are barricading themselves in against the coronavirus. They are not acting on government orders but taking matters into their own hands.

We came across six in Hebei, the province surrounding Beijing which has seen one death from novel coronavirus.

Handwritten signs at street entrances say: "No outsiders allowed in."

Others have taken it further: at Xikangzhuang village, in Baoding, they have built entire walls out of brick.

We spoke to one man through a gap in the barrier. "Our village built this," he said. "To stop outsiders coming to our village - to reduce the number of people coming in."

Villagers have set up checkpoints that mimic the official versions you have to cross as you enter the province, screening people's temperatures.

In another fortified village called Dongyinzhuang, locals were winching a portacabin into place - it will serve as a guardhouse.

After it was safely set down, resident Yan Yang told us: "It's because of the epidemic. I don't know how long it will last.

"No one knows how the epidemic will process. There's no policies from the top yet.

"I can't say I'm not worried. But no one has another method."

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Hebei is some 600 miles from Wuhan - a city that has been sealed off not to stop the virus getting in, but prevent it getting out.

There, video filmed by a resident showed the city at night, as the cry went up around the neighbourhood: "Wuhan, add oil!" It means keep going, hang tough.

Neighbours shouted it out the window to each other, a chorus of solidarity.

But elsewhere in China, people are bunkering down, breaking their bonds with the outside world.