In Wuhan, life is not returning to normalcy despite lockdown withdrawal


Suraiyya Aziz from Wuhan

Throughout the world, people are waiting for the announcement that the coronavirus pandemic is contained and they can resume normal life. In countries like India and Bangladesh, for example, where the ongoing lockdown is pushing a large segment of the population into severe economic hardship, no one really is sure about the post-lockdown situation. Economist are predicting a global recession, much worse that the Great Depression, which would devastate the economic backbone of many countries.

Here in Wuhan, although the authorities have lifted the lockdown, there may actually be a long way off.

When Wuhan officials eased outgoing travel restrictions on April 8, effectively ending the city’s 76-day lockdown, residents and local businesses soon learned that city’s actual reopening would be painfully slow. A large number of stores are still shut, restaurants are restricted only to takeaway and when citizens go outside, they still wear protective gear and try to avoid each other.

Although authorities are trying to bring normalcy to the city, every citizen in here are still to overcome the trauma of the pandemic. It may even take many months for them to forget this nightmare.

Chinese policymakers wanted to see total normalcy in the Wuhan city by the end of April. But this target has already crossed and there still is not even a slim sign of getting into normalcy. People are afraid of forgetting the pandemic as they fear, a second wave of coronavirus may hit any moment.

Wuhan residents are struggling with zero profits and huge rents and experts said that it might take the city’s economy months to recover, if not longer. A large number of medium-range business houses may go bankrupt, while it will also seriously hit the large industrial and commercial enterprises.

The original outbreak was first detected in Wuhan in mid-December, and as the outbreak worsened, the city sealed its borders from the rest of China on January 23 in an attempt to contain the spread.

Virtually overnight, life was halted. In some parts of the city people were confined to their homes for several months straight, unable to leave and relying on delivery services for groceries and other basic needs.

With the lockdown now over, the local government is keen to resume normal business as quickly as possible, as Beijing puts pressure on provinces to help boost a flailing economy.


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