Wuhan during the COVID-19 lockdown
23 January 2020. Wuhan, the largest city in central China, was under lockdown. Back in December 2019, medical doctors in the area had reported a pneumonia outbreak, which later became the sanitary crisis that changed the world.
The authorities implemented harsh restrictions and mobilized human and material resources to deal with the new, fast-spreading disease. Doctors worked until exhaustion, and people stayed bolted inside their houses.
The rest of the world watched the news with consternation, but it wasn’t long before the first cases were reported outside China.
The COVID-19 lockdown in Wuhan ended in April. During the summer of 2020, China was slowly coming back to normal. Movie theaters were re-opening, and the sanitary crisis seemed to have passed. The population of Wuhan is still healing from the COVID-19 outbreak both physically and emotionally. At last, life has returned to the streets. The markets are full, people have returned to their workplaces, and they can enjoy eating out again. The infection rate has dropped almost by magic: they were only 178 new cases in China today (23 January 2021).
Using this to its advantage, the Chinese Communist Party glorifies the authorities’ efforts to contain and eradicate COVID-19. The government has financed an exposition in Wuhan, showcasing the efficiency of the country’s coronavirus response.
The truth behind the Wuhan COVID-19 situation
Yet, the situation is more intricate than it looks. A study recently conducted in the Hubei province has shown that the number of people infected with COVID-19 in Wuhan was three times bigger than the official reported numbers. Considering the SARS-CoV-2 antibodies found in the participants’ bloodstream, it is believed that as many as 168,000 Wuhan residents had suffered from the virus.
The real situation in China it’s still unclear. Officials want to preserve the image of a self-relying and strong country, but the world will not forget that it was also the place where the COVID-19 pandemic started.
A team of World Health Organization inspectors has arrived in Wuhan to inspect the market that had allegedly sold the infected animals. They will proceed with their inquiries after a 14-day quarantine. It’s hard to believe they will find something useful in such a guarded society, more than a year after the outbreak. We hope that their effort will reveal useful information on how a similar situation can be avoided in the future.