Hubei province, containing the City of Wuhan and former epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, is set to leave lockdown on the 8th April. Wuhan, the largest city in Central China, has a population of over 11 million and is where the coronavirus outbreak began in December last year. Since then, it has spread to over 200 countries and territories globally.
Globally, the pandemic has led to the cancellation of the Wimbledon Championships for the first time since World War Two, the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, and suspension or nullification of all professional European football and rugby. Many countries have banned large gatherings in order to stop the spread of the virus, following in China’s footsteps.
Some fear that as the region begins to welcome new arrivals, including over half a million migrant workers that return to villages during the holidays, new cases will occur. Asymptomatic carriers could spread the virus again, and cause a second wave as has been seen in cities that lift lockdown measures early.
Wuhan’s attempted return to normalcy is suggestive that the national government is trying to avoid a recession, as Wuhan boasted 7.8 per cent GDP growth in 2019, higher than the Chinese average. It plays host to over 300 of the world’s top 500 companies, including Microsoft, KPMG German-based software company SAP and French car manufacturer Groupe PSA (owner of Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel and Vauxhall brands). Due to it’s central location, it also functions as a transport hub, with several high-speed lines running through it, connecting East and West.