How virus ground zero Wuhan went from Covid freedom back into madness of world's strictest lockdown | The Sun
WITH packed dancefloors and pool parties – while the world suffered from soaring Covid caseloads, China was unlocking and boasting they had beaten the virus.
Few places were more championed than Wuhan – the virus' "ground zero" from which apocalyptic footage of heaving hospitals and people collapsing in the street emerged in early 2020.
Months later while Britain and the rest of the world were still dealing with the horror impacts of the virus – China was showing off just how well it had beaten the virus.
Famous photos showed people living life as if there was no deadly virus sweeping the world – with the city claiming they had no new local cases.
Chinese clubbers were seen packing out a disco just as the second wave began to crash into the UK ahead of the extremely grim winter two years ago.
And yet now – while the UK lives an entirely normal post-pandemic existence, Wuhan has once again been plunged back into lockdown along with more than a 200million others across 31 cities in China.
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China pulled the trigger on another lockdown after just a handful of new cases – between just 20 and 25 a day with 240 over the last two weeks.
But that was enough to tip the scales as 800,000 people in one district were ordered to stay home until at least October 30.
And this isn't the first time – with the city also being placed into lockdown in July amid repeated snap lockdowns across China.
Cops wearing hazmat suits and wielding machine guns have been brutally enforcing some of the strictest rules in the world.
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Quarantine camps, food shortages. cops seizing people's homes, tags on Covid patients, and drones policing the streets have all been seen across China.
And yet the caseload in China is claimed to have been comparatively low throughout the entirety of the pandemic.
The most they ever suffered was on February 12, 2020, with 14,108 new cases – and the most they faced this year was 5,659 on April 29.
Britain meanwhile recorded an all-time daily case figure of 275,647 on January 5, 2022 – which is higher than what China claims is its all-time case figure over the last 1,031 days of 258,398.
And yet the UK has not felt the need to impose any full-scale restrictions since the middle of 2021.
Something does not appear to add up in China.
The architect of these measures is Chinese leader Xi Jinping – who was recently appointed "Emperor for Life" – as he pursues policies dubbed "Covid Zero".
China appears to be pursuing a national policy of self-isolation as the Communist Party have made Covid Zero its flagship plan.
They wrongly assessed the situation in the world, and they cannot come out from their own comfort zone
Xi doubled down on the policy in a recent speech – and vowed all measures are due to stay for the foreseeable future.
He has claimed his plans are about saving people's lives.
China has not recorded a single Covid death since May – and from April 2020 to April 2022 it only recorded six deaths.
Is this a sign of the success of Xi's policies, or a sign of the Chinese state's overreaction?
Wuhan was the guinea pig as China pioneered the idea of "lockdowns" – with the 76-day shutdown becoming the template followed by cities from London to New York to Melbourne.
Xi's refusal to abandon his plan has been credited with causing deep economic damage – and for stoking rare open unrest in China.
Covid Zero has been described in some reports as a "trap of its own making" for the Communist Party.
Virologist Jin Dongyan, from Hong Kong University, told The Washington Post: "If they open up now, there will be a major outbreak immediately.
"However, even if they do not open up, a major outbreak will sooner or later arise somewhere."
The scientists added the approach is "not sustainable" and "someone has made the wrong judgment".
"They wrongly assessed the situation in the world, and they cannot come out from their own comfort zone," he said.
Wuhan was the site of the world's first Covid outbreak – sounding the alarm to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on December 31, 2019.
The outbreak then spiraled into a global pandemic that has so far killed more than 6.5million people and infected 635million.
It was suggested the latest Covid cases in Wuhan could have been linked to the sale of pork.
And this matches with the theory that may have first emerged from Wuhan's now-infamous Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.
The first cases of the virus were centered on the wet market in downtown Wuhan which was packed with live animals for sale.
It is suggested the virus could have jumped from one species to another before then mutating to infect humans.
Some have cast heavy doubt on this theory, however – instead pointing fingers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
WIV was home to various bat-based coronaviruses, and it's been suggested the infection could have escaped or been carried out by a sick worker.
China has always angrily denied these allegations – and the true origins of the virus remain unknown.
"I don't know what to do. If we can still survive living like this then I suppose that's what we'll do," one Wuhan resident told Reuters.
"When we see these news stories about Covid, we now feel a bit numb. We feel numb to it all.
"We feel more and more numb."
Wuhan was not the only new lockdown in China – with Guangzhou also being sealed up.
People were ordered to stay home in areas that were deemed high risk of Covid resurgence.
And meanwhile, in Xining there have been reports of food shortages and skyrocketing prices.
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Other recent Covid outbreaks in China has seen the cities of Datong and Xi'an put under new measures.
Bejing attraction Universal Studios Resort was also shut down due to a single Covid case, and there were viral cases at a factory in Zhengzhou which makes iPhones.
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