- The Wuhan coronavirus has reached Xinjiang in western China, prompting fears that the million Uighur Muslims detained in prison camps across the region are helpless to infection.
- Authorities reported two cases in the autonomous southwestern region on Thursday, Radio Free Asia (RFA) and The Wall Street Journal reported, citing local health authorities.
- Conditions at the prison camps are dire, with poor sanitation, hygiene, and cramped living conditions, according to former inmates. There are at least 465 scattered across the region.
- The coronavirus, also called 2019-nCoV, has now killed 26 people and infected more than 870.
- Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress exile group, told RFA “the lives of millions of people will be at stake.”
- The Wuhan coronavirus that has killed at least 26 people in China hit the western region of Xinjiang on Thursday.
At 6 p.m. local time health authorities reported a 47-year-old man, named as Li, and a 52-year-old man, named as Gu, were infected, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported, citing the state-run China Central Television (CCTV).
Authorities said the pair had visited Wuhan, in Hubei, where the first case was reported on January 10, RFA said.
The Wall Street Journal also reported on the outbreak in Xinjiang, citing health authorities.The development is significant. If the virus spreads in Xinjiang it could leave the estimated 1 million Uighur Muslims detained in prison camps across the region highly vulnerable to infection. Uighurs call the region East Turkestan.
- The camps are filthy, have poor infrastructure, and are packed to busting with prisoners, according to testimony of former inmates. This makes them an ideal breeding ground for disease and infection.