A Chinese author who kept an online diary about her lockdown life in Wuhan has revealed how authorities initially told residents the deadly coronavirus was ‘not contagious between people.’

Wuhan-native Fang Fang, 64, launched a ‘forbidden’ journal to capture what she heard, read and saw during the epidemic from the viewpoint of an ordinary resident at the epicentre of the crisis.

In a gripping new extract published by the Sunday Times, the author confessed it was her brother who first told her the virus was contagious, having previously been informed it was ‘controllable and preventable.’

On February 1, she said: ‘Now that I think back, it was actually my eldest brother who first told me that this virus was contagious. He teaches at Huazhong University of Science and Technology.