‘More painful than death’: a year on from coronavirus lockdown chaos in Wuhan

‘More painful than death’: a year on from coronavirus lockdown chaos in Wuhan

When Yue Zhongyi heard Wuhan was about to go into lockdown last year, he wanted to leave town.

But it was already too late, so the 62-year-old retiree rushed to the supermarket instead and stocked up on huge bags of rice, 15kg of noodles, and bottled water.

The entire city of 11 million people was sealed off the next morning, on January 23, as health authorities imposed aggressive measures to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

For the next 76 days, Yue and his family – like everyone else – stayed at home as the city in central China tried to beat the outbreak.

A year on, Yue said he had almost forgotten the chaos in Wuhan in the early days of that long quarantine, but new outbreaks in Hebei in the north of the country – where millions are again in lockdown – brought it all back.