Shopkeepers in the city at the centre of the virus outbreak in China were reopening Monday but customers were scarce after authorities lifted more of the anti-virus controls that kept tens of millions of people at home for two months.
“I’m so excited, I want to cry,” said a woman on the Chuhe Hanjie pedestrian mall who would give only the English name Kat. She said she was a teacher in the eastern city of Nanjing visiting her family in Wuhan when the government locked down the city in late January to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Some 70 per cent to 80 per cent of shops on the mall were open but many imposed limits on how many people could enter. Shopkeepers set up dispensers for hand sanitizer and checked customers for signs of fever.
Wuhan’s bus and subway service has resumed, easing curbs that cut most access to the city of 11 million people on January 23 as China fought the coronavirus. The train station reopened Saturday, bringing thousands of people to what is the manufacturing and transportation hub of central China.
“After two months trapped at home, I want to jump,” said Kat, jumping up and down excitedly. “I want to revenge shop.”
That will be a welcome sentiment to officials who are under orders to revive manufacturing, retailing and other industries while also preventing a spike in infections as people return to work.
Travel controls on most of Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, were lifted on March 23. The final restrictions preventing people from leaving Wuhan are due to end April 8.