She flew back from the United Kingdom, where she lives and works, to spend the festive season in her hometown, Wuhan, a sprawling metropolis in central China. For 24 hours a day, Shi -- who is in her mid-30s -- sat by her mother's bedside in hospital, taking care of her. Around her, more and more people were getting sick from a newly identified coronavirus.
But Shi wasn't too worried. After all, Chinese authorities were saying that the outbreak was "preventable and controllable."
Now, three weeks after Shi arrived in China, it's clear the outbreak is not under control. The virus has spread to every Chinese province and region, across Asia and as far away as Europe and the United States. It has infected more than 7,700 people and killed at least 170. Wuhan has been placed on an effective lockdown, almost entirely sealed off from the outside world.