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WATCH: Kildare man shares eerie video from the quarantined city of Wuhan, China


by Grace McGettigan
27th Jan 2020

Coronavirus, by Ben Kavanagh for Channel 4

Coronavirus, by Ben Kavanagh for Channel 4

Irishman Ben Kavanagh, who is working as a teacher in Wuhan, China, has shared a glimpse of his life in quarantine following the recent outbreak of the coronavirus


Two surgical masks, a pair of goggles and gloves. These are just some of the accessories Ben Kavanagh must wear in order to protect himself against the rapidly-spreading coronavirus.

Ben, who is originally from Co Kildare, lives in the Chinese city of Wuhan where he works as a teacher. With more than 80 reported deaths from the coronavirus so far (not to mention 2,700 people diagnosed), the entire city and its 11 million residents have been placed in quarantine. Flights have been cancelled, bus services have stopped and many businesses remain closed.

Ghost town

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland radio show, Ben explained how he hadn’t left his apartment in days, but that he’d need to venture outside soon for groceries. In the video below, which Ben made for Channel 4, we can see him doing exactly that.

As the coronavirus can be transmitted from person-to-person before symptoms have appeared, health officials have asked people to be as vigilant as possible. Not only must Ben wear two face masks across his nose and mouth, but he has also been advised to wear goggles to prevent the virus from potentially entering the body via his eyes. Ben must also wear gloves (which he will then wash on returning home), as many surfaces (including elevator buttons and handlebars on supermarket trolleys) may be harbouring the virus.

In the video below, Ben explains how Wuhan is like a ghost town. There are no cars on the streets, hardly any pedestrians, and almost all the shops are closed. What’s more, Ben explains how the punishment for driving around during the quarantine is a fine and confiscation of your driver’s license – so those people on-the-go must have a very good reason.

When he finally arrives at the supermarket, Ben finds other shoppers are filming the scene too. With the staff avoiding potential virus-transfer from customers, only the self-checkouts are available (which is inconvenient when scanning through “weeks” worth of groceries). The word ‘eerie’ doesn’t begin to cover it.

Photo: Ben Kavanagh for Channel 4


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