China: Tian Bing (35) struggled on the highway for six consecutive days because he was not allowed to set foot in the city due to quarantine orders.
Earlier, on February 4, Bing left his hometown, driving nearly 2,000 km to return to Taixing City, Jiangsu Province (China) in the hope of returning to work soon.
Since the corona outbreak broke out at the beginning of the new year, the Chinese New Year holiday is longer than usual, the policemen guarding the highway exit to the city, where he runs a home appliances repair business, told him to turn back.
The reason: Tian is not considered a local resident under China’s Byzantine hukou system, barring him from entry due to the city’s recent decision to keep out outsiders.
“I think I’ve done everything I can do,” he said. Before setting off on the near two-day drive, Tian got a health certificate showing he was virus-free and called ahead to the city officials, who assured Tian he would face no problems.
Every day, he only lined his stomach with cookies and instant noodles when most of the surrounding restaurants were closed. Bing used a cushion as a pillow, forced to curl up in the back of the car. When he slept, he did not dare to turn on the engine for fear of gas poisoning.
In fact, Bing is not the only one to fall into a similar situation. Other posts on social media show that many people are stuck in strange places, isolated or abandoned in uninhabited lands when travel bans apply across the country.
The police guarding the expressway exit to Taixing have said Tian can come in if officers in the compound of his rented home agree to pick him up. But Tian said the community officers refused because they don’t want to be responsible for anything that goes wrong.
“They (the officials) don’t care if you die on the highway because you have nowhere to stay,” Tian said at the service station near another city about 90km from Taixing.
Tian is not ready to give up, however. He calls the city government every day, even though his wife is pleading with him to go someplace else that will accept him, even if under quarantine.
“I want to get off this expressway to deal with my business as soon as possible,” Tian said. “My seven employees need to eat and pay their rent too; that’s absolutely my responsibility.”