At the epicenter of the coronavirus, Wuhan people are stepping down

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WUHAN | In the heart of China, their city was the first on the planet to be quarantined. But six months later, the people of Wuhan are savoring their return to normal life, to the point that many no longer hesitate to step aside.

Young people swinging their hips at a techno party, crowded food stalls and ubiquitous traffic jams: the Wuhan landscape has nothing to do with the ghost town atmosphere that had descended on the shores of the Yangtze from January 23.

The metropolis of 11 million inhabitants went through a hard confinement of 76 days, finally lifted in early April. But with the disease almost disappearing across China, animation has taken over the streets.

Thousands of Wuhan people line up every morning in front of caravans selling breakfasts. A scene that contrasts with the crowds that flocked to the city’s hospitals during the winter, anguished by the new coronavirus.

While the mask is de rigueur from Berlin to Paris, in Wuhan the symbol object of the pandemic, as well as full suits and safety glasses, give way to umbrellas and sunglasses. The overwhelming temperatures have reached 34 degrees in recent days.

Tourists have returned and photograph themselves all smiles in front of the Yellow Crane Tower, one of Wuhan’s iconic monuments, with its red and orange woodwork.

Closed market

But the return to normal is not complete and economic activity remains convalescent.

“During the first half of the year, we only reactivated certain projects that were planned before the epidemic,” Hu Zeyu, an employee of a real estate developer, told AFP. “The volume of business has been greatly reduced.”

Same story with Yang Liankang, owner of a food stall. Business is slowly picking up, with daily sales rising from around 300 yuan ($ 58) last month to over 1,000 yuan ($ 191) today.

“But it’s not as good as I imagined,” he notes.

Among the first people infected in Wuhan, many worked at the Huanan Fresh Food Market, which was closed by authorities in early January.

Abandoned behind high blue barriers, it has not reopened. Some vendors have relocated their stalls further away.

Since the deconfinement, Wuhan has taken the time to reconsider his trauma.

At the Museum of the Revolution, an exhibition on COVID-19 presents objects supposed to illustrate the fight against the epidemic. Visitors can observe signed full body suits used by caregivers during the crisis.

Many Wuhan people now say they want to take advantage of the present moment.

“Now, I enjoy each day like it’s my last,” says a resident named Hu Fenglian. “I don’t want to worry too much.”

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