Latest News

Wuhan Has Lifted Its Lockdown Restrictions Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

After 11 weeks sealed off from the world, the Chinese city has opened again

While Australia continues to implement major restrictions on residents amid the coronavirus pandemic, Wuhan – the Chinese city where the virus first emerged – has officially lifted its 11-week lockdown, which began in mid-January

According to the BBCresidents who are deemed healthy via a “green” code on a widely used smartphone health app, will be allowed to leave the city. 

To celebrate the lifting of the tight measures, the central Chinese city’s bridges and skyscrapers were lit up with heartwarming images of healthcare workers, accompanied by the poignant words “Heroic City”.

The relaxed measures follow the latest figures from the Chinese government that show there have been no new cases of COVID-19 in the area. Despite the return to normalcy, there are still several strict measures in place to monitor the situation.

All residents will be required to use a smartphone application that allows the Chinese government to monitor their health status to determine whether they are able to leave their homes. In addition, schools, colleges and daycares will still remain closed and temperature checking and mask-wearing will continue to be a part of daily life.

Technology has played a vital role in supporting citizens of Wuhan while the city has battled the pandemic. A few weeks ago, Twitter staffer Laura Gao posted a series of tweets which offer insights into how the city is using technology to ensure everyone receives food supplies and transport to hospitals amid the pandemic. Gao also touches on her own personal experience with her grandparents who live in the Chinese city. 

1) Got on a phone call with my grandparents in Wuhan tonight. Asked them how things were holding up now that the things have improved alot for the city. Here’s some cool findings: 

2/ While Wuhan city proper is still in lockdown, people are allowed to take walks outside only within their own “neighbourhood”. For context, most people live in “neighbourhoods” comprised of several high rise apartments in a compact area w/ a shared green space (see pic).

3) My relatives who live in a rural town within Wuhan area but not in city proper said surrounding areas with no sick cases are now allowed to walk outside freely. Transportation to and from these areas has opened again but under heavy inspection and scrutiny.

4) I asked how they get supplies as two 80-yo who cannot leave the apartment. They said the govt has assigned an official for each “neighborhood” to be a supply runner. They take grocery orders from everyone via an online form, buys them at the supermarket, and delivers them.

5) While supplies aren’t rationed (ppl can buy as much as they want), to max efficiency, supermarkets have created grocery bundles that ppl can only buy. If someone has a special request for an item not in the package, they have to add it in the form (e.g. extra meat, a snack).

6) My grandparents are tech-illiterate so my uncle helps fill out their online form. The govt official assigned to their “neighborhood” also has their phone # and will call frequently to check-in. He not only does supply runs but can order taxis ASAP if they need medical care.

7) Fun fact: Because all taxis are state-owned and all public transportation is shut down, the govt has repurposed all taxis as emergency vehicles to drive people to the hospital during quarantine.

8) Many relatives have not worked for 3 months now bc of quarantine. They said the govt mandated employers must still pay salaries while they’re in quarantine. As a reaction, some employers are requiring workers to make up this pay once they come back… effectively a loan.

9) Lastly, my grandparents heard about the overwhelming support from Twitter about the Wuhan comic and wanted to say thank you for thinking of them and their city! They constantly have neighbors asking how their family in the US is doing. Goes to show how selfless ppl are 🙂

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the pandemic is accelerating, with more than 1,356,780 cases now confirmed. It is urging countries to adopt rigorous testing and contact-tracing strategies. For more read here

Related stories