Crowds flock to Wuhan, where the pandemic began, to celebrate the New Year


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Wuhan (Chine) (AFP)

Thousands of New Year’s revelers gathered in central Wuhan, the Chinese city where Covid-19 was first detected, cheering and releasing balloons to welcome in 2021.

Police erected fences in an attempt to prevent congestion around the city’s customs office clock tower, but the measure was ineffective due to the large turnout of mostly young people.

“2020 has been a very difficult year for us because we have experienced the epidemic, especially in Wuhan, which is an unforgettable experience for us,” Xu Du, a local resident, told AFP.

Most of the crowd wore masks for the Thursday night celebrations, which included a light show.

Wuhan has been strictly confined for more than two months from the end of January, but has returned to normal life since the summer. Schools reopened completely in September.

“China has controlled the epidemic very well now,” reveler Li Yusu said. “But there are still other countries suffering from the virus. I hope other countries can overcome this difficulty as quickly as possible. ”

China has been widely criticized for its initial handling of the virus, which emerged in Wuhan, central Hubei province, in December 2019.

The country has been accused of covering up the epidemic and allowing the virus to spread internationally.

Beijing also recently tried to cast doubt on the origin of Covid-19 in Wuhan.

On Monday, citizen journalist Zhang Zhan was jailed for four years for reporting on conditions inside Wuhan at the height of the epidemic.

The city of 11 million people was forced to close from January to April and around 4,000 people died, according to Chinese figures.


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