In China’s, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, life for the city’s residents has more or less returned to normal, but many still grapple with the memories of how they lived through the severe lockdown which emptied the streets and kept worried residents inside their homes.
It’s been almost seven months since the city recorded a locally transmitted case of the disease due to the strict city-wide lockdown and a mass testing event of almost all the city’s 11 million residents.
Reuters asked people throughout Wuhan to share images and videos they took during their outbreak, as well as their hopes for 2021, as the city approaches the one year anniversary of the outbreak.
“During the epidemic, it was the first time I stayed with my family for so long. At that time, because it was possible to see death at any time, the most profound thing I felt during the epidemic was love in family,” said Shu Lingyun, an 18-year-old student, who was preparing for college entrance examination during the lockdown. She often played video games with her friends to keep from getting bored and stressed.
Some, like street food vendor Jiang Honghua, 34, returned to their hometowns until the lockdown was over. Jiang didnt have a steady income during this period, but had time to spend with her children. Others, like An Junming, were busy helping deliver food to people who were not allowed to leave their homes.
“As a volunteer, I transported vegetables, fruits, and food to the community (during the lockdown). The main job was to be responsible for transportation and distribution. At that time, I could only eat one meal a day, because there was indeed a lot of work to do, but there were very few people doing this, so I was very anxious,” he says. “There were no people on the street in the whole of Wuhan”, An said. “Only animals were active outside.”
Lead singer of local band “Mad Rat”, Zhang Xinghao, used the solitude to write new songs as he could do little else. He and his band are now back performing at packed venues.
Wuhan resident Liu Runlian, 58, says during the lockdown, she would look out from her window and feel depressed.
“This photo shows heavy snowfall when Wuhan was under lockdown. I was in a bad mood at home. So, my thoughts, when I took this photo, was of hope that Wuhan can get through, to bless Wuhan and the people of Wuhan,” she says as she takes an evening walk.
Like the city itself, most people are enduringly optimistic, even as they reflect on the city’s toughest year in recent memory. Restaurant owner Lai Yun, who used to buy most of his seafood from the wet market where the virus was originally detected, says the year has gone by very quickly.
“I feel that this year has passed, but I feel that I haven’t done anything this year. I think the inspiration that COVID-19 gives us is that a healthy body is more important than anything else,” says Lai.