”We are no longer afraid!” said the inhabitants of Wuhan this Monday, who recovered a completely normal life three years after the start of a strict and traumatizing confinement to fight against COVID-19.
Wuhan, in central-eastern China, has suffered from the outbreak of an unknown virus since the end of 2019, causing pneumonia in a growing number of its inhabitants.
The virus put this industrial city of 11 million inhabitants at the center of global media interest.
The Wuhan authorities decided on January 23, 2020 to confine the city, a month and a half before the World Health Organization (WHO) considered the virus a global pandemic that caused millions of deaths worldwide.
Three years later, life returned to normal in most countries, including China, which announced in early December the end of most of its health restrictions.
There was virtually no sign of the ghost town that Wuhan became in January 2020 on Monday.
Despite an icy wind, its inhabitants took advantage of the Chinese New Year holidays to go shopping in the markets or to walk along the banks of the Yangtze River.
Some elderly people were stretching, while other Wuhan citizens were flying kites.
Many of them also visited the Guiyuan Temple, one of the best-known buildings in the city and open, for the first time in the last three years, for the Chinese New Year holidays.
“The new year that is now beginning will undoubtedly be the best. We are no longer afraid of the virus!”, says Yan Dongju, a maintenance agent in his 60s, in statements to AFP.
A little further away, a young motorcycle delivery man for pre-cooked meals agrees with him.
“Everyone recovered a normal life. They stay with the family, with their friends, they go out to have fun or travel. they smile again”, explains Liang Feicheng.
“We are no longer worried and restless as then”, affirms this delivery man, who was wearing glasses and a mask to protect himself from the icy cold.
The confinement in January 2020, announced in the middle of the night and applied a few hours later, took the inhabitants of this Chinese metropolis by surprise.
Airports and train stations, as well as road connections, were closed.
Wuhan was cut off from the world for 76 days, with its inhabitants locked in their homes and hospitals overwhelmed by the arrival of the sick.
But the chaos of three years ago is now a thing of the past.
“House of Hope”
In front of a store where the AFP photographed a corpse lying on the sidewalk, they opened a school whose name seems to be a nod to the overcoming of that critical period: “La Casa de la Esperanza”.
The Huanan Seafood Market, which was suspected to be the epicenter of the epidemic, closed in 2020.
Large blue barriers continue to protect that place, in front of which there was a police vehicle, according to AFP.
Despite the return to normality of the inhabitants of Wuhan, as well as in the rest of China, that does not mean that the coronavirus has disappeared from the Asian giant.
About 80% of the population in China contracted COVID-19 since the lifting of sanitary restrictions in early December, according to epidemiologist Wu Zunyu, a leader in the country in the fight against the virus.
China reported at least 13,000 new deaths this weekend.in relation to COVID-19″ between January 13 and 19.
This figure, which only reflects those who died in hospitals, is in addition to the 60,000 deaths since December, previously announced by the authorities.
Undoubtedly, it is a partial balance in a country with 1.4 billion inhabitants, in which numerous hospitals and crematoriums were overwhelmed during the past month.
Ricardo is a renowned author and journalist, known for his exceptional writing on top-news stories. He currently works as a writer at the 247 News Agency, where he is known for his ability to deliver breaking news and insightful analysis on the most pressing issues of the day.