China correspondent Elizabeth Law returns to ground zero of the Covid-19 pandemic to see how the city has changed one year since the first infection was detected.

published : DEC 12, 2020

Correspondent's diary: Wuhan one year on

Arriving in Wuhan

The focus is now on imported infections, including making sure foreigners agree to take "full responsibility" in case of an outbreak.

Other than people wearing masks and having to show your health code, WuhanTianhe Airport is pretty much back to normal.

In April, when the airport first reopened to commercial passengers, the worst of the outbreak was over and there was music and singing in the airport to give medical teams a hero's send-off.

On the streets of Wuhan

Fewer people were out and about on the streets because of a wintry rain but at least there weren’t pedestrians in PPE, a common sight in April.

Some scars of pandemic remain

Hand sanitisers and disinfectants are commonplace in cars and taxis while drivers keep themselves masked up at all times.

Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market

The market where the outbreak first made headlines remains shut

A shadow of its former self

All of it has been boarded up and what used to be a place bustling with traffic and people is now much quieter.

The plastic hoardings that were placed around the market at the start of the outbreak have been replaced by more permanent ones, complete with Chinese art. It is unclear when or if the market will reopen.

Baishazhou wholesale market

Some of the vendors previously from Huanan had moved to the sprawling Baishazhou market, about 45 minutes from the city centre .

Mr Tao Xianggen, butcher

"What we’re most worried of is a resurgence of Covid-19. And we’re worried about the safety of the elderly and young in our family. Because this virus comes from outside the country...we have to take proper preventive measures."

A city still recovering

This is a city that is still trying to get back on its feet. There are improvements, but it’s still a long way to go before things get back to completely normal.

One thing hasn't changed

From holes in the wall to fancier restaurants, Wuhan's trademark Re Gan Mian (hot dry noodles) can still be found at every street corner.