World Millionth death from Covid: emotion at the Wuhan epicenter
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"I did not have imagined such a heavy toll ": the millionth global death of Covid-19 recorded on Monday inspires sadness and disbelief in the inhabitants of Wuhan, nine months after the emergence of the virus in the Chinese city.
While many are proud of the resilience of their metropolis and of China's successful fight against the coronavirus, they also note with sorrow that the pathogen continues its deadly spread elsewhere on the planet.
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"One million dead is little reported to the world population . But it's so many lives lost, people who had families, "Hu Lingquan, a Wuhan man who works in scientific research, told AFP.
The Covid-19 is contained in China, thanks to strict confinements and quarantines, the wearing of masks, or the follow-up of contact cases thanks to personal data via mobile phones.
Result: the country reports only a handful of new patients every day. And daily life has already resumed for several months across the country, Wuhan included.
Hand in hand with their parents, the schoolchildren of the city thus went as usual Monday morning to their establishment, in the middle of the congested streets.
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- Crowded swimming pool -
As Europe lives under the threat of lockdowns and restaurant closures, the Chinese economy is rebounding: factories are operating at full speed, consumers are returning to stores and tourism has resumed.
And if Wuhan was the first place in the world to be struck by the coronavirus in December, it was also one of the first to get rid of it. Images of a techno party held in August in a crowded swimming pool stunned the world.
Some countries, led by President Donald Trump's United States, have been calling China to account for several months, denouncing its mismanagement of the virus, responsible according to him for its spread elsewhere in the world.
For its part, Beijing questions the Chinese origin of the coronavirus. And underlines that in the absence of scientific proof, the pathogen could very well have come from elsewhere before exploding in Wuhan.
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The virus has hit the city hard (11 million inhabitants), with officially 50,340 sick and 3,869 dead - more than 80% of the national balance sheet.
- "Very poorly managed" -
But the authorities have not reported any new cases since May. And many Wuhan people are wondering about the strategy of other countries.
"From the Chinese point of view, they have handled the crisis very badly," said Hu Lingquan. "They may never have really realized how serious the epidemic was."
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the global death toll will continue to climb until a mass vaccination campaign.
"At the start of the epidemic, I had not imagined such a heavy toll," Guo Jing, another resident of Wuhan, told AFP.
But in this city now known throughout the world because of the Covid-19, carelessness predominates today.
Many passers-by no longer had masks on Monday, or were wearing them under their chin. And the inhabitants stormed the shopping districts before the long holiday week (October 1-8) of the National Day.
"Wuhan has made a new start," An An, a Wuhan woman who works in the media, told AFP. "Life has regained its former flavor."
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