Wuhan to lift lockdown on April 8 after 72 days
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – After 61 days of complete lockdown in Wuhan, China, Bahamian sociology student Shenell Mott was relieved to hear she would soon be able to walk freely outside.
Chinese authorities announced yesterday that they will end the two-month lockdown on April 8, following significant reduction in new COVID-19 cases.
On January 23, Chinese officials sealed Hubei Province and its nearly 60 million residents from the world – halting public transportation and suspending outbound flights and trains – in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.
The first case of the virus was detected in Wuhan on December 31 but the outbreak saw its peak with thousands of daily cases in February.
It’s where the 27-year-old has been studying for the past four years at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology.
“Being outside was absolutely forbidden,” Mott told Eyewitness, just hours after the lift was announced.
“In the beginning, people were still going outside, but there was one day in January the school just sent a notice saying…you can’t go outside anymore, we’re on official lockdown until this was over.
“It was just abrupt and very sudden, little to no warning and they had to set up different services for us to still be able to buy food, they took over feeding us.”
Mott said as of late, food has been delivered directly to the dorm rooms, so there is no need for anyone to leave.
“I feel a little bit relieved and hopeful,” she said, of her pending release from the confines of the small room.
“It is a sign that it can be controlled and that with social distancing or physically distancing, it does work and it can save lives.
“…But just being able to go outside and probably go for a walk, and not be couped up in my room all day, it’s a pleasant thought to have right now.”
Mott however insisted that she will continue to be cautious in her daily movements, given that the virus is now global.
While other cities in the province will be opening up today, Wuhan won’t open until a few days later – totaling 72 days.
People in those cities will only be able to leave if they have a green QR code on their phones, indicating that they are healthy and safe to travel, according to the Hubei provincial government.
Hubei Province has recorded the majority of infections and deaths in China, with 67,801 cases and 3,160 deaths as of yesterday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the global spread of the virus a pandemic – of which Europe has now been identified as its epicenter.
Countries around the world have gone into lockdown, implementing curfews and strict social distancing policies.
Four days into a partial nationwide lockdown and a mandatory nightly curfew, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the closure of the nation’s borders to all visitors, and introduced a 24-hour curfew with the exception of visits to essential services.
The move came after Bahamians were seen partying on a beach on Sunday, ignoring health officials advice.
Mott yesterday urged Bahamians to heed to the warnings and stay at home.
“It’s going to pass by very quickly,” she said.
“It’s only a short amount of time as long as everybody complies and there are no new cases it won’t have to be extended,”
She insisted that the best thing to do is find healthy ways to keep yourself entertained and even suggested reading a good book.
Mott said: “Obviously China and Wuhan is an example that it won’t last forever, it can be lifted.
“So as long as everybody complies…people can go back to normal and be able to go back to going outside and enjoying the things that we all took for granted before this.”