Wuhan Lifts the Lockdown and Gives the World Hope


Wuhan Lifts the Lockdown and Gives the World Hope

Illustration: Aishwarya Nayak

Over two months after it went from being a relatively small city in China to the epicentre of a global pandemic, Wuhan district announced that it has lifted its lockdown.

All 11 million residents of the city were allowed to move freely for the first time in 76 days, as other parts of the country — and the world — remain under various stages of quarantine thanks to the highly contagious coronavirus.

The announcement was made at midnight on Wednesday and marked with light displays and images of healthcare workers on various skyscrapers and bridges across the city. Residents gathered in public for the first time since late January, to wave flags and sing together — and also remind other countries grappling with the contagious illness that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

As soon as the lockdown was lifted, about 55,000 people were expected to leave Wuhan by train for their respective hometowns, a report said. At the city’s train stations, meanwhile, the announcement “Wuhan deserves to be called the city of heroes” was played over a loudspeaker.

Drone footage of the lit up city painted a happy picture after months.

Wuhan’s buildings were lit in the colours of the Chinese national flag.

A Times Square-like countdown accompanied the lifting of the lockdown.

A few images posted on social media show life slowly inching back to normal in the city, where over 2,500 are estimated to have died, and over 50,000 estimated to have caught the virus since January. The first flight to land in the city, from Hangzhou city, was met with a “water salute” at the international airport.

Return back work today from r/Wuhan

But even as Wuhan celebrated its freedom, another district not too far away went into lockdown. According to reports, the Heilongjiang district was placed under similar restrictions that Wuhan was under a week ago after 25 fresh cases were recorded in a day. This has led some to say that Wuhan should enjoy the freedom for as long as it lasts.

Either way, the government has still urged residents of Wuhan to not to leave their neighbourhood, or the city unless absolutely necessary. Travellers will also have to undergo two rounds of testing for the virus in case they want to visit Beijing, as well as be willing to be tracked by a phone app, which traces who they come into contact with, among other things.

Still, as coronavirus cases continue to spike in other parts of the world, it’s a relief to see the most widely spoken about hotspot making a fresh start. Hopefully we’ll see the same back home soon.