Anger as Wuhan emerges from harsh lockdown

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 11:04 |

As Wuhan, the city at the centre of China's outbreak, emerges from an 11-week lockdown, you don't have to look hard to find voices that are not on message.

"The cover-up by small group of Wuhan officials led to my father's death. I need an apology," Zhang Hai told me. "And I need compensation."

His 76-year-old father, Zhang Lifa, died of Covid-19 on 1 February, having contracted the virus in a Wuhan hospital during routine surgery for a broken leg.

"I feel very angry about it," Zhang said, "and I believe other victims' families are angry too."

It took 76 days, but Wuhan's lockdown is now at an end. The highway tolls have reopened, and flights and train services are once again leaving the city.

Residents - provided they're deemed virus free - can finally travel to other parts of China.

"During the past two months, almost no-one was on the streets," delivery driver Jia Shengzhi tells me.

"It made me feel sad."

Wuhan has endured one of the most extensive and toughest set of quarantine restrictions on the planet. To begin with, people were allowed out to shop for food but by mid-February, nobody was allowed to leave their residential compounds.

Delivery drivers became a vital lifeline.

"We sometimes received phone calls from customers asking for help such as sending medicines to their ageing parents," Mr Jia says.

As the head courier at one of e-commerce company's Wuhan delivery stations, he worried that such an order wouldn't reach the customer on time if sent via the normal method.

"So, I rode on scooter, went to the pharmacy, picked up the medicine and took it to his father. "

It's a story of pulling together in a crisis that would be music to the ears of the Chinese authorities.

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