How long was Wuhan, China in a COVID-19 lockdown—and how did it end?

  • Wuhan citizens were under lockdown for 76 days
  • About 11 million people live in the city and about 60 million in the province
  • The government is still checking people to confirm they’re healthy to travel

More than two months after the city of Wuhan, China—where the new coronavirus was first diagnosed—was locked down to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the restrictions were lifted on April 8. That means the 11 million citizens that had been shuttered behind closed doors can now move around their city more freely.

Bridges and tunnels reopened. Trains began departing from stations. And people waved flags and sang the national anthem.

Most of China’s 82,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 3,300 deaths were in Wuhan, and citizens were then placed in lockdown for 76 days—where people were only allowed to leave their homes for food and other essential reasons. The lockdown began on Jan. 23 in Wuhan and most of the Hubei province, and it affected nearly 60 million people. About 10 weeks later, it finally ended.

As the Associated Press wrote, “While there are questions about the veracity of China’s count, the unprecedented lockdown of Wuhan and its surrounding province of Hubei have been successful enough that countries around the world adopted similar measures.”

But just as much of the world looked at the industrial city’s decision to lock down Wuhan to help contain COVID-19, the New York Times notes that the city’s next steps will also be watched for “lessons on how populations move past pain and calamity of such staggering magnitude.”

The city also isn’t necessarily flinging its doors wide open. People will still wear face masks and get their temperatures checked, and people can only leave the city if they show government authorities a phone app that proves they’re not at risk of spreading coronavirus.

“One difficult part of having a normal life after the lockdown is regaining a sense of control and certainty over one’s own life after it has been put under such heavy official scrutiny,” Guo Jing, a 29-year-old social worker, said, via Quartz. “The lifting of the lockdown is not the end.”

On April 26, the last coronavirus patient in Wuhan was released from the hospital.

But on May 10 and 11, six people living in Wuhan tested positive for the coronavirus, and that led to city officials saying that all 11 million people in the city needed to be tested.

Sources: Associated Press, New York Times, Forbes, Quartz, The Guardian

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