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From a ghost town to normal life: What is happening today in Wuhan, where the pandemic broke out three years ago?


There are no traces of the confinement decreed at night and surprisingly in January 2020. But the virus continues to circulate.

 "We are no longer afraid!"

Wuhan residents said Monday, who returned to

a completely normal life

three years after the start of a strict and traumatizing confinement to fight covid-19.

Wuhan, in central-eastern China, has suffered from the

outbreak of an unknown virus

since late 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.

The same corner before and after, in Wuhan.

Photo: Hector Retamal / AFP

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 beginning now will undoubtedly be the best. We are no longer afraid of the virus!" Yan Dongju, a maintenance agent in his 60s, told AFP.

Three years later, life is normal in Wuhan.

Photo: Hector Retamal / AFP

A little further away, a young motorcycle delivery man for pre-cooked meals agrees with him.

"Everyone has returned to a normal life. They stay with family, with friends, go out for fun or travel.

They smile again

," Liang Feicheng explains.

"We are no longer worried and restless like then," says this delivery man, who wore glasses and a mask to protect himself from the icy cold.

the night of confinement

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 .

Before and after.

Wuhan, during the confinement of January 2020 and today.

Photo: Hector Retamal / AFP

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.

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.

The Huanan seafood market, which was suspected to be the epicenter of the epidemic, closed in 2020. Photo: Héctor Retamal / AFP

Large blue barriers continue to protect that place, in front of which there was a police vehicle.

The coronavirus continues

Despite the return to normality of the inhabitants of Wuhan, as well as in the rest of China, this does not mean that the coronavirus has disappeared from the Asian giant.


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.

About 80% of the population in China contracted covid-19 since the lifting of restrictions in early December.

Photo_ Hétor Retamal / AFP

China reported at least 13,000 new deaths "in relation to covid-19" this weekend between January 13 and 19.

This figure, which only

reflects those who died in hospitals

, is added to the 60,000 deaths since December, previously announced by the authorities.

Undoubtedly, it is a partial balance in

a country with 1,400 million inhabitants,

in which numerous hospitals and crematoriums were overwhelmed during the past month.

By Sébastien Ricc and Vivian Lin, AFP


look also

With the reopening of China, online controversy grows

More and more countries impose controls on travelers from China

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-01-23

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