A 21-year-old Canadian woman in Wuhan says she won't evacuate because she can't abandon her cat. Here's what her life is like under lockdown.

Kristina Shramko hasn't been outside in a full week.      


The last time she left her loft in Wuhan, China, officers in the supermarket across the street checked her temperature before she entered the store to buy groceries. She wore a mask — a requirement in Wuhan as of late January — and officers patrolled the store to make sure patrons complied, Shramko said. 

Wuhan has been under lockdown since January 23 because the 11-million-person city is the origin point of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. The COVID-19 virus, as it's now known, has so far infected at least 67,000 people and killed more than 1,500. (For the latest case total, death toll, and travel information, see Business Insider's live updates here.) The majority of those cases are in the Hubei province, where Wuhan is located. China has quarantined more than 50 million people throughout the province. All transportation in and out of Wuhan has been halted.

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Kristina Shramko and her cat, Kitya.

Shramko is Canadian — she grew up in Vancouver, where she studied fashion marketing. She met her boyfriend, who lives in Wuhan, while on a month-long trip to the city. She moved there to be with him about eight months before the coronavirus outbreak began. When the city shut down, Shramko's boyfriend was on a business trip. The quarantine rules mean he can't return, so he's staying with family in a different province. 

That has left Shramko alone with her ginger-colored cat, Kitya. 

When Canadian authorities started chartering flights to evacuate citizens, Shramko registered. But then she learned there was a strict no-pet policy on the plane. She wouldn't leave Kitya behind.  

"I don't know when the epidemic will be over so it's kind of abandoning her in a way, even if I give her to a friend," Shramko told Business Insider.

But life under quarantine hasn't been easy. 

"After a month of just being alone and not having that much human interaction, it really takes its toll mentally," Shramko said.


Life in a ghost town

The grocery store across the street from Shramko's apartment was basically empty, she said. A few bags of noodles and some condiment packages remained on the shelves, but for the most part, they were bare. Still, the supermarket is the place Shramko has seen the most activity since Wuhan residents were quarantined, she said.

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The supermarket that Shramko visits, during the quarantine.

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