Eleven weeks lockdown, it does something to a city. Wuhan celebrated ‘liberation’ today with an impressive light show on the skyscrapers. The beautiful spectacle was broadcast via all state media, but too much optimism is not yet an issue. Indeed, just today, the Chinese city of Suifenhe again imposed restrictive measures. The fear of a second wave remains.
Wuhan was the first city in the world to be locked on January 23. According to official data, more than 50,000 people became infected with the coronavirus, and more than 2,500 died, accounting for eighty percent of all deaths in China. On the other hand, only three new infections were reported in the Hubei province in the past three weeks. However, all these figures have serious question marks.
But for the time being, the concerns have been resolved. It is estimated that around 55,000 people will leave Wuhan by train today. “I am happy to be able to go to my home in Xiangyang finally,” explained guest worker Liu Xiaomin. More than ten thousand inhabitants took the plane. International travel is, of course, not yet allowed. The capital of China Beijing can only be reached from Wuhan by rail. Those who arrive there will be tested twice for the virus.
To travel, the Chinese must first demonstrate that they are healthy. Via popular apps like WeChat or Alipayonder, they have to fill in their body temperature and indicate whether they have a medical history. Then they are sent a colored code back. Red means that they are probably infected with the coronavirus; orange means that they have had contact with an infected person. Only those who can present the green color will have free access.
Unrest is growing again in China after the number of confirmed infections has almost doubled in 24 hours (from 32 to 62, ed.). Striking: those who have the coronavirus without obvious symptoms are counted separately. That counter has now suddenly quadrupled, from 30 to 137. In most cases, it concerns people who have recently crossed the border.
“We realize that the victory is definitely not in yet,” said Vice Governor Cao Guangjin at a news conference. “We must remain calm and vigilant.”
Suifenhe, a smaller city in the north on the border with Russia, is already anticipating by announcing a new lockdown. One member of the family can still go shopping every three days. “These new infections are putting great pressure on our province of Heilongjiang,” it says. “Suifenhe doesn’t even have a decent hospital, how could one ever cope with a large influx of patients there?”