“We are no longer afraid.” Three years after imposing a strict quarantine on Wuhan, from which the Covid-19 epidemic began, life has returned to normal in the central Chinese city. At the end of 2019, Wuhan, with a population of 11 million, began recording infections with an unknown virus at that time, which sparked increasing cases of pneumonia.
On January 23, 2020, the authorities ordered the imposition of a strict quarantine on Wuhan to stop the spread of the epidemic, before it spread throughout the world, claiming millions of lives and causing the collapse of the global economy. However, life has now returned to normal in most countries. After three years of closure, mandatory quarantine, and infection detection campaigns, China almost completely lifted in December the imposed health restrictions.
Wuhan does not show any indications of the atmosphere of the catastrophe that was in 2020. Despite the extreme cold, some residents take advantage of the Lunar New Year holiday to go to the markets, or to take a walk on the banks of the Yangtze River, while retirees do some exercise, and kites fly in the sky in the middle of the weather. bit cloudy.
“The new year that begins will definitely be better. We are no longer afraid of the virus,” says Yan Dongguo, a cleaner over 60. “Everyone has returned to normal life. People meet their families and friends, they go out to have fun or they travel. They smile back,” said Liang Feisheng, who was delivering prepared dishes on a motorbike. He was keen to wear goggles and a mask to protect himself from the extreme cold. He continues: “The worries and fears we had calmed down.”
In January, Wuhan residents were surprised by the quarantine, which was announced in the middle of the night, and imposed a few hours later. The entire world was watching with astonishment and fear on television the beginnings of a health crisis that would turn into a global pandemic. And Wuhan found itself completely cut off from the world over a period of 76 days, with the closure of train stations and airports, blocking roads, disrupting transportation and closing shops, while residents stayed in their homes and patients flocked to hospitals.--
Yet the chaos of January 2020 is a distant memory. And the building, where a picture of a dead man was lying on the sidewalk was taken in front of a store at the beginning of the epidemic, now houses a new school called “House of Hope”, as if it were a sign of fate. The Huanan Seafood Market, which was suspected for a period of time to be a hotbed of infection, has been permanently closed since 2020.-
Wide blue barriers still surround the deserted compound, with a parked police car in front. And after China was considered for a long time an oasis of safety on the health level, due to the extremely severe measures it took against the virus, the country has been facing, for a few weeks, the largest new outbreak of infections. Epidemiologist Wu Zunyun, who is considered in his country a symbol of fighting the virus, estimated that about 80 percent of the Chinese have contracted Covid-19 since the lifting of health measures last December.
On Saturday, China reported 13,000 COVID-19-related deaths in hospitals between the 13th and 19th of this month. This number is limited to deaths reported in hospitals, in addition to about 60,000 previously announced by the authorities for the period between December 8, 2022 and January 12, 2023. There is no doubt that this outcome is lower than the actual figures for a country with a population of 1.4 billion people. At a time when many hospitals and crematoriums are still facing an influx that exhausts their capacities.