Chinese New Year: Three years after the Corona outbreak: Wuhan celebrates the return to normality

The Chinese city of Wuhan was the first corona hotspot in the world to be sealed off from the outside world at the beginning of the pandemic - three years later, the inhabitants of the metropolis put their fear of the virus behind them.

Chinese New Year: Three years after the Corona outbreak: Wuhan celebrates the return to normality

The Chinese city of Wuhan was the first corona hotspot in the world to be sealed off from the outside world at the beginning of the pandemic - three years later, the inhabitants of the metropolis put their fear of the virus behind them. Many residents were relieved on Monday that normality was back in their city on the third anniversary of the lockdown. "Of course, the new year will be better," cleaner Yan Dongju told AFP. "We are no longer afraid of the virus."

After the relaxation of the strict corona measures in China, everyday life in Wuhan has returned. During the Chinese New Year holiday, people crowded the city's markets, visited food stalls and restaurants, or headed to Guiyuan Temple, which was open for the first time in three years during the Chinese New Year holiday.

The delivery driver Liang Feicheng also expressed his satisfaction with the abolition of the corona restrictions. "People go about their lives, meet with their family and friends, go out to play, travel and be happy."

The first corona cases were detected in Wuhan at the end of 2019. The city of millions in Hubei Province was then completely sealed off from the outside world for 76 days. The residents holed up in their homes for fear of contagion.

A hospital was built from scratch in just ten days. The building is now empty, and a banner there praises the government's successes in the fight against the corona virus. A new school called House of Hope now stands above a shop where AFP photographed a man's body three years ago.

The animal market in Wuhan, which is considered a possible starting point of the corona pandemic, has not reopened to this day.

The Chinese government followed a zero-Covid policy until the end of the pandemic and ordered week-long lockdowns and mass tests for millions of Chinese. At the beginning of December, Beijing then implemented an abrupt change of strategy and eased the restrictions significantly. The country is currently experiencing the highest increase in corona infections in the world, and hospitals are overcrowded in many places.

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