Covid-19

Message from Wuhan: residents tell the world to stay strong, stay indoors

Life in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus first emerged, is slowly returning to normal as the government relaxes a more than two-month-old lockdown that cut the city off from the world and kept most of its 11 million residents at home.

Message from Wuhan: residents tell the world to stay strong, stay indoors
HECTOR RETAMAL AFP

Life in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus first emerged, is slowly returning to normal as the government relaxes a more than two-month-old lockdown that cut the city off from the world and kept most of its 11 million residents at home.

Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, was once the epicentre of the now global pandemic and was subjected to the strictest curbs on movement and business.

The virus is believed to have emerged from a seafood market in Wuhan last year and the city accounted for about two-thirds of China's total number of infections. New cases, however, have declined dramatically in the city and the rest of the country, prompting the easing of curbs that have been in place since Jan 23.

Reuters asked several Wuhan residents to share their experiences with the millions of people across the globe now in some form of lockdown or isolation.

Their advice? Stay united, stay indoors and "add oil", a Chinese saying that means stay strong.

Li Lanjuan, an epidemiologist at the Zhejiang University School of Medicine, waves a Chinese flag from inside a bus as she leaves Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicentre of China's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, March 31, 2020

Mu Zi (Taxi Driver)

"In the beginning, I was quite scared because my job involves meeting lots of people, so I went home and quarantined myself.

"After the government measures to control the epidemic started to work in February, I became more relaxed and in a better mood. And since my housing compound has had no cases, they've started allowing us to go out.

"The situation overseas, especially in Italy, really makes my heart ache. I hope that overseas coronavirus patients will be able to overcome this."

Ding Fan, 27, (Employee)

"In the beginning I was pretty scared, because the week after the lockdown was when the infections in Wuhan peaked, and the numbers published every day made me very sad.

Sin tituloA community volunteer wearing a hazmat suit guards the entrance of a compound along in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province on April 1, 2020. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)

"I wasn't used to being at home and I would feel very anxious because everyone was very nervous; you'd open the windows to look outside and it would be completely empty, you wouldn't even see a shadow. It felt very miserable and not like my home, a city usually bustling with life."

"We live in the same world, and we need to work hard together to defeat this illness. Everyone should go out less, stay at home to read books, watch television and play games with the family.

Hu Yong, 40, (Disinfectant Sprayer)

"I've been working as a volunteer and recently joined a disinfectant company to spray shops and streets. This epidemic has made me feel that we Chinese are really strong.

"As someone who has lived through this, I would like to tell everyone don't panic, you have to adjust your state of mind. Secondly make sure you take precautions, like washing your hands, ensuring good ventilation and exercising regularly."

Qiy Xiaoying, 72, Shopowner

"We basically didn't go out and didn't visit other people's houses. Everything stopped. We didn't even visit our relatives or have meals together during the Lunar New Year holiday."

"If we in China can overcome this epidemic, other countries can definitely triumph over their difficulties. You have to rely on your willpower, figure out ways to make it retreat, learn from China to have a responsible attitude, don't take the virus lightly and don't go out on the streets without masks."

A resident pay for groceries by standing on a tree stump to peer over barriers set up to ring fence a wet market on a street in Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicentre of China's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

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