Wuhan residents called for help and shared worries of food shortages, with some on the "verge of tears", after the virus-hit city was put on effective lockdown on Thursday.
Planes and trains out of Wuhan were cancelled, with public transport also suspended as authorities told residents not to leave in a bid to control the spread of the virus.
The search term "Wuhan is sealed off" had been read at least 510 million times on Weibo by Thursday morning with some 214,000 discussion posts.
Some residents said they were on the "verge of tears" as they read news of the lockdown, adding that their families' lives were "threatened constantly and the target of online abuse".
"We consciously avoid going out, disinfect diligently and wear masks," wrote one user in a social media post.
"But there is a lack of food and disinfectants, and we need more resources. We hope everyone can understand that we are feeling as though it is the end of the world. We really need everyone's help".
Some called on the government to provide more resources to Wuhan, saying there were not enough masks to buy and that food prices were rising.
One user said: "Could the government help to resolve the issue of resources? Can we control food prices?"
The number of confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the new Sars-like virus is over 570, according to China's National Health Commission, with most in Wuhan.
One video being shared on social media showed a bride in a nearby city wearing a surgical mask, and saying that all the guests who had visited Wuhan for work had been seated at the same table.
Lunar New Year celebrations begin on Friday, and it is a popular time for weddings in China.
Many internet users from outside the city expressed sadness and concern for residents, urging them to stay safe. Others expressed anger at the authorities, questioning why the city was not sealed off sooner.
Some blamed people in Wuhan for eating wild animals.
One user asked: "Do people enjoy eating wild animals that much? Hasn't the lesson from Sars been enough?" (AFP)
Tearful Wuhan residents call for support, supplies
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