The Washington Post Magazine

An artist quarantined in China illustrates what it’s like to live on lockdown

Since late January, illustrator Jing Li has been under quarantine with her family in Yichang, China, a city about four hours from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. “I wanted to share my experience of what life is like at the core of the virus,” she said. “But I can’t go outside for long to draw — it’s too dangerous.”

Jan. 25: My hometown, Yichang, which is very close to Wuhan, started to move into quarantine. Community workers stay in small shelters and act as security guards, trying to prevent people from leaving their homes.

Jan. 31: Our city has recycling and garbage containers on each corner, but now we have a special red container just to dispose of face masks.

Feb. 4: Workers start disinfecting the city. I can see them from my window.

Feb. 16: My daily to-do list: Wear a mask if I go outside; wash my hands well; clean my phone with alcohol wipes; take my temperature and report it to the government through an app.

Feb. 26: From my balcony, I see one of my neighbors walking her dog on the roof of another building in our apartment complex.

March 1: We’ve stocked up on food, but since we’re under quarantine, community workers deliver free vegetables to us in bags like these.

March 2: My dog has also been inside for almost two months. I don’t want to take her to the roof for a walk — there are too many people up there.

March 12: The roads are empty and quiet. I feel depressed and sad, knowing how many people are suffering from this disaster. Our city is so close to Wuhan; I have no idea when the roads will open again.