Wuhan turns page on Covid, three years on

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2023

WUHAN, China: Residents of China´s Wuhan said on Monday they were hopeful for the future and no longer afraid of Covid-19, three years after the city was locked down over what was then a mysterious virus.

Since Beijing ordered Wuhan sealed off in a bid to suffocate the outbreak in January 2020, Covid has spread around the globe, killing millions and plunging the world economy into turmoil.

But life is now back to normal for many, and after almost three years of gruelling lockdowns and mandatory mass testing, Beijing last month lifted its hardline zero-Covid policy. As China celebrated Lunar New Year this week, Wuhan was unrecognisable compared with the apocalyptic scenes that gripped the city of 11 million in early 2020.

Locals crowded into busy markets, and families -- some not wearing masks -- bought toys and threw stones along the Yangtze River. As evening fell, colourful animations lit up the facades of the buildings that dominate the skyline, as firecrackers celebrating the Lunar New Year exploded in the distance.

Many flocked to Guiyuan Temple, one of Wuhan´s most famed sites -- open for a Lunar New Year holiday for the first time in three years. Others enjoyed snacks and local delicacies on Hubu Alley, a popular historic thoroughfare bustling with stalls and small restaurants. Locals told AFP they were elated that life was returning to normal.