A Kiwi who chose to stay in China's Wuhan - the epicentre of the coronavirus - during the lockdown does not expect the city to reopen later this week.

But as the South Island man stays safe in his inner city apartment, his major concern is his diminishing stock of protective gear he needs to wear when he ventures out for supplies and his inability to get his hands on any more.

The man in is early 30s, who spoke to the Herald on the condition he was not named, has been holed up in his apartment for 18 days so far and says he and many others are in limbo until the Government makes an announcement on Friday.

The Chinese holiday period was extended for an extra two weeks until at least February 14 - but as the number of deaths continued to rise residents thought the city would remain closed.


"The trajectory for this and the modelling for this suggests it is probably going to burn itself out by April. So probably around mid-April things will be back on track."

Supermarkets and pharmacies are open, but the stock they hold is limited and there appears to be no masks and hand sanitiser left in the entire city.

"Things like disinfectant sold out weeks ago. There is not much to be had out there."

The Kiwi said his biggest concern was that he only had enough protective gear such as gloves, masks, protective eye wear and sanitiser to leave his apartment five more times before he ran out as he was not taking the risk of re-using them.

He's been going out to the supermarket once every five to six days, but says the quality of fresh produce and meat - if he's lucky enough to find any - is poor and he's paying about 35 per cent more than normal.

"Instead of eating nice supermarket carrot I might be eating horse carrots and instead of getting pristine looking green leaf vegetables I'm getting sort of what looks like it has come out of dad's cabbage patch."

Once the fresh produce runs out, he survives on noodles, dumplings, porridge and rice until he's able to restock.

While people are not being stopped from going outside, the usually bustling city resembles a town with only authorised vehicles allowed on the roads and about 5 per cent of the normal population outside.


"On top of the you've got the roads completely empty bar for ambulances, police cars and cars moving around the neighbourhood so road traffic is extremely low."

About 5 per cent of the expat community the man, in his early 30s, associates with have left the city - including his European girlfriend - so he's keeping busy working, reading and listening to podcasts.

He's also got an exercise bike and a set of weights to help him keep his fitness levels up and speaks with his family in New Zealand every day.

"Everyone is spending lots of time on social media sort of being each other's eyes and ears. If you get a heads up that one supermarket in the corner of the neighbourhood has got veges you might go down and get some.

"If someone sees someone getting pulled out of the house by the Hazmat team you might sort of get a heads up on that."

He witnessed a person down the corridor from his apartment being rolled out on a stretcher by government officials wearing white protective gear and could only assume the deadly virus had taken another victim.

The man had seriously thought of getting on the evacuation flight for Kiwis last week - but decided against it over fears of leaving his business and not knowing when he would be allowed to return.

"I considered it, but I don't think it is the best option for me. I kind of feel everyone is over here enjoying the benefits of being over here in their own way - whether that's lifestyle of income or opportunities. We got ourselves into this - it's not up to anyone else to bail us out when it all goes pear-shaped.

"... That being said it's not all that bad - it is survivable. As long as you isolate yourself really well you should be fine."

On the bright side, he said it was nice to sit inside and have a few weeks of peace like a silence retreat.

"I guess it's a bit like what retired people might do. Potter around the house for a bit, give it a tidy up. Check on the balcony and look at what the neighbours are up to, make a cup of tea, ride it out. It's not all bad."

Ministry of Health: No new case, 'monitoring new coronavirus threat'
Massive surge in coronavirus cases as China mourns death of whistleblower Dr Li Wenliang
Coronavirus: Kiwi passenger gobsmacked over lack of checks entering NZ
KFC worker diagnosed with coronavirus after 12-hour shift