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Helen Oakleigh, the Different for Girls actor and OutNews Global columnist, is currently on lockdown in China as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Helen, in China since last week to direct a series of plays, began to experience flu-like symptoms after travelling through Wuhan, the centre of the mysterious outbreak.

Internet access from the affected areas is extremely patchy, although Helen has managed to get some information to us via WhatsApp.

She writes, “We’re all on lockdown here, it’s very eerie… all transport got stopped tonight apparently…hearing whispers from different places not sure what’s true.

“My boss said I’m to stay inside, not talk to anyone, if I have to go out for anything exceptional to wear my mask at all times, only cycle or walk and avoid all public places and immediately leave if a crowd forms and when home again shower immediately and wash clothes worn out… got about 2-3 days’ worth of food and water left.”

Emergency services in Wuhan

The Chinese authorities have today imposed a travel lockdown on 13 cities, affecting a total of 35 million people, while hospitals in Wuhan have made urgent appeals for assistance and supplies.

As far as one can tell from a WhatsApp exchange, Helen remains positive, joking that while even boiled water was unsafe to drink, the “bits in it are great for exfoliation in the shower”.

We’re yet to receive a reply to our most recent message, sent at 8 o’clock this morning (Friday).


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Rob Harkavy

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