News Wuhan comes slowly back to life. Here’s what it looks like
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Wuhan comes slowly back to life. Here’s what it looks like

beds in wuhan
A convention centre in Wuhan was turned into a hospital to manage the outbreak. Photo: AAP
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The streets of Wuhan are slowly filling with life.

For a few long months the city held the world title as the COVID-19 epicentre, now it is gradually opening up.

Silent streets are beginning to bustle with foot traffic, cars are back on the roads. Shops are open.

To curb the out of control infection rate, the people of Wuhan spent 76 days inside.

As one third of the world questions when lockdowns might end, Wuhan is now a reminder that this, too, shall pass.

Clyde Zhao, is a 23-year-old student at RMIT. He got stuck in his home city when he went back for Chinese New Year.

“When I heard the news of the lockdown on January 23, my heart was very disturbed, because I thought Wuhan would lose many people because of the corona virus,” he told The New Daily.

Clyde Zhao helping deliver food during lockdown.

“The hospital in Wuhan at that time was overcrowded, and I heard news that some patients lost their lives because they were waiting to see a doctor.

“But now, things are getting better.”

Although there have been no new cases or deaths reported in Hubei province since the latest figures were released on Wednesday, many citizens are worried there will be a second outbreak.

The concern is mixed with hope – and for many, the familiar feeling of boredom.

“To be honest, if not for work, it would be boring for Wuhan people to go out every day, because most of the entertainment industry in Wuhan is still closed,” Mr Zhao said.

“In addition, I think I cannot say that I am relieved, I can only say that I am more relieved than before.”

Some things are things are there to stay – citizens still practice social distancing when they’re out and about. Some old things feel brand new – like the traffic clogging up the streets.

Medical teams are slowly leaving Wuhan but for good reason. Photo: Getty

“The current traffic in Wuhan has basically returned to its normal state, and people will begin to experience traffic jams when they leave work,” Mr Zhao said.

“However, the catering industry in Wuhan can only allow customers to take away.

“Now the only entertainment venue that opens are the shopping malls, but the restaurants and movie theatres in the malls are not open. In addition, bars will not open for a long time, and that may be more than half a year.”

The decision to close Wuhan on January 23 was unprecedented at the time. The world blinked, and it became the norm.

Streets that were only a few weeks ago cordoned off are open and empty parks have started to fill with mask-wearing residents walking and playing badminton.

Wuhan is slowly opening up. Photo: Clyde Zhao

The air is filled with a weird mix of excitement and trepidation.

“Wuhan reopening has made all Wuhanese very happy, and at the same time there will still be some concern,” said Mr Zhao said.

“Because there are still confirmed patients in Wuhan, and the number of asymptomatic patients is also increasing.

“Therefore, in the next long period of time, Wuhanese will wear masks when they go out.”

To catch any clusters, officials are scanning people before they hit the streets, he said.

People are happy, but still quite concerned. Photo: Clyde Zhao

“Everyone must scan the health QR code to go out, but for safety, it is better to go out less.

“The first thing I do when I go out is to put on a mask. Of course, I also want to remind Australians that they must wear masks.

“Maybe because of cultural differences between China and the West, they will think that only those who are sick will wear masks, but in fact masks are for their own safety.”

So what does a 23-year-old do to amuse themselves during the biggest pandemic the world has seen since the Spanish Flu? They volunteer, to take food and medicine to those who can’t.

“During the period of COVID-19, I became a volunteer, mainly to help the residents to provide living materials, such as food and medicine.

Mr Zhao with a group of friends helping deliver food during lockdown.

“And because I like photography, I usually take pictures to record my life during this time to keep myself happy.”

When asked what he missed most in lockdown, Mr Zhao said it was going out for breakfast.

“What I missed most is the breakfast in Wuhan,” he said.

“Because Wuhan has a variety of breakfasts, and the most famous one is hot dry noodle, Every Wuhanese eats a bowl of hot dry noodles every morning.”

Wuhan might not be completely in the clear, but the breakfast spots are finally open for takeaway.

This story is part of The New Daily’s global isolation series. We have talked to people across the world.

Kyle Bryant told us about the ominous feeling in New York City, Maria Andujar shared how she is staying sane in locked-down Spain and Shannon Power gave us her best lockdown tips from London.