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Spanish football manager describes life inside Wuhan, the city in the grip of coronavirus

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Spanish football manager describes life inside Wuhan, the city in the grip of coronavirus
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Empty streets, closed shops and paralysed transport marked the start of the Lunar New Year in Wuhan, the city in China at the centre of the global deadly coronavirus outbreak.

It was a dramatic start of the new year in a country that should have been celebrating. Instead, the spread of the virus has forced the Chinese authorities to take drastic measures including the isolation of 13 cities.

Beijing canceled its traditional parties and events to celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Rat.

Inside Wuhan, there is tranquility.

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
A man wearing a face mask rides a nearly empty subway train in Wuhan, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020.AP Photo/Mark SchiefelbeinMark Schiefelbein

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In the eye of the storm

“The airports are closed, the subway is closed and mobility is a bit more limited," Spanish coach Oliver Cuadrado, goalkeeper coordinator of the Wuhan Shangwen Three Towns football team, told Euronews from the city.

"One of the recommendations we've been told was that everyone should wear masks, and everyone on the street is actually wearing masks."

Oliver said the club had kept him and his team fully informed on how they should act.

“We have information," he said. If you are alone it is more complicated, but together we help each other if something happens to someone. For now, we are all well and everything's fine."

Sudden change

Marc Fernández Giralt, Wuhan Shangwen's coach and Oliver's partner, lives in Hong Kong.

He recalled how he and his teammates had planned trips to different parts of the country. On January 22, they were told there would be no problem flying.

But two days' later, the the situation was very different. "The authorities warned us that the airport was going to close at ten in the morning. As soon as I've heard the news, I've checked that international flights had not been canceled, so that I could fly back to Hong Kong," he said.

Although international flights were still underway, all domestic flights had been canceled and the airport was about to close. Marc had to pass through temperature controls when he arrived in Hong Kong.

The coach remains in contact with teammates who have been trapped in Wuhan and is impressed with their handling of the situation.

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