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Music festivals, crowded streets and packed shops and restaurants… these scenes would have been unimaginable in Wuhan just a few months ago. But after enduring one of the world’s toughest lockdowns, good times are returning to what was once the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wuhan, believed to be the source of the Covid-19 coronavirus, went into lockdown in January.
For the next 76 days the streets were left largely deserted except for emergency workers and fearful citizens lined up outside pharmacies and hospitals.
But the lockdown was lifted in April as Covid-19 cases dwindled. Four months on, tourists are back on the streets, people are enjoying the sunshine and many are even forgoing the face masks that have become mandatory in many other parts of the world.
“It feels like our city has had a serious illness, but because of the time, coupled with the national policies and medical resources, it has slowly recovered its vitality and we have entered into a normal living state,” bride Deng Xueqin told AFP as she posed for wedding photos with her groom by the city’s riverside.
The hazmat suits that were once a common sight in the city are now confined to a museum, at a new pandemic-themed exhibition in the city.
But not everything is back to normal. Traffic is still restricted in some parts of the city, the Wuhan Seafood Market, where the virus first emerged, remains shuttered and many businesses are struggling to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.
“The market performance is still relatively conservative,” Hu Zeyu, a real estate worker, told AFP. “The business volume has been greatly reduced.”
China, which has reported more than 80,000 Covid-19 cases, says the virus is now largely under control, although sporadic outbreaks and imported cases continue to occur with 25 new cases reported on August 11, including 9 local cases.