Man busted paddling tub across Yangtze River to escape virus


A resident from virus-hit Hubei province was briefly detained for breaching travel restrictions after he was caught rowing a wooden tub across China's longest river, local media reported on Saturday.

As the novel coronavirus has spread from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, officials have taken aggressive measures to stifle the outbreak, imposing a lockdown on at least 15 cities in Hubei that are home to tens of millions of people and restricting public transport.

The man, from Huangmei county, which is under the administration of Huanggang city in Hubei, told police on Wednesday that he had decided to take the unusual mode of transport because he had to get to work in Jiujiang, a city of five million people on the other side of the Yangtze River. Bridges and ferries between the city and Hubei have been closed since January 26.

But before he could reach his destination, the man was intercepted by authorities and sent home, Southern Metropolis News reported, citing a police officer with Yangtze River Shipping Office in Jiujiang. A photo circulated online showed the man had taken a bucket and small footstool with him on the journey.

The police officer, who said the man was healthy, added that patrols have been stepped up along the river.

In a widely circulated notice issued on Thursday, the coronavirus prevention office in Jiujiang, a city in southeastern China's Jiangxi province, warned its counterparts in neighbouring Wuxue city in Hubei that there had been cases of its residents using illegal transport to flee from the administrative area.

"To enforce the disease prevention, Jiujiang has imposed strict traffic control but [we] have found that there have been some illegal transport in Wuxue carrying passengers to [Jiujiang] and cases of using illegal cars and agricultural ships or even a basin to cross the river have been repeated, posing an extremely high risk to the disease control," the notice said.

Jiujiang officials urged authorities in Wuxue to crack down on the illegal transport.

Source: South China Morning Post

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