As if it were a New Year’s Eve, last night the eyes of Wuhan they were nailed to the clocks. And, finally, when the hands struck midnight and signaled the start of a new day, the city celebrated April 8 as if it were January 25, the Lunar New Year that was stolen from its 11 million inhabitants. With a great light show and projections on the facades of the skyscrapers, accompanied by the sound of horns, the capital of Hubei vibrated and sighed with collective relief. It is not for less: 76 days after confinement to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the city where the first outbreak arose is now free. Gone are 2,571 fatalities, about 80% of all those recorded in China.
In very symbolic gestures, the Authorities ordered the removal of barriers blocking access to the city At 75 points, tolls again allowed vehicles to circulate, and both train stations and the airport reopened. All those citizens who can demonstrate that they are free from SARS-CoV-2, either with the QR code that a government application generates on the mobile phone or with a medical certificate, can now leave the city and move freely around the country. “The first thing I thought was that I can finally get my life back,” said a man who works as a messenger for the Global Times newspaper. “If the quarantine had lasted two more weeks, it would have gone bankrupt,” he added.
However, the return to normality will be gradual: the Government reiterates that the population should continue to leave home only when necessary and avoid large congregations of people, flights to Beijing and abroad remain canceled, and today only 30% of the trains operate, in which migrant workers who have remained trapped in the city have priority. According to the local press, some 55,000 people will travel outside the capital of Hubei aboard 230 trains that have been thoroughly disinfected and that always leave an empty seat among passengers. It is estimated that 40% of passengers will be destined for the Pearl River delta, one of the main manufacturing centers of the second world power. The first high-speed convoy departed for 7:06 bound for Nanning under the watchful eye of the press, and 16 minutes later the first flight took off, landing two hours later on Hainan Island.
However, many fear that upon arrival in other provinces they will be forced to stay two weeks in quarantine because of the fear of the infected asymptomatic. “Now we have to face the discrimination that we are going to suffer,” laments a young woman from Hubei who prefers not to give her name. “I am very happy that China has been able to beat the coronavirus, but I would like the rest of the country to appreciate the enormous sacrifice that we, the citizens of this province, have made and not be denied access to services or jobs,” she adds to this newspaper. , referring to discrimination that even the unions have warned about.
But China’s top priority is to avoid the outbreak of the epidemic. Because, Wuhan has noticeably increased the number of tests it performs in an attempt to detect the asymptomatic and to make sure that there are no cases like those of some Hubei citizens who, after returning to their jobs in other provinces, have tested positive for coronavirus. Not surprisingly, 70 residential complexes in the city remain in quarantine because they have detected new infections. On the other hand, the country has reinforced controls at the borders to detect those infected from abroad, which already represent the vast majority of those detected by the Asian giant.