Isolated from the rest of China and the rest of the world since the end of January, Wuhan relied on the help of volunteers, home delivery personnel and transporters to survive while the 11 million residents were inside the house respecting the two-month quarantine. because of the coronavirus pandemic.
When authorities banned any citizen from leaving the city and left residents confined to their homes to stop the coronavirus outbreak, several voluntary organizations began creating programs to distribute medical supplies, take patients to hospitals or take food to residential complexes.
In the worst days of the epidemic, these people brought food to each neighborhood up to 5 times a day, free of charge, and meals were divided to ensure the livelihood of the inhabitants.
Many still work as volunteers to this day, when the Wuhanese can go out on the street if they are in good health and will continue their work even after April 8, when the city plans to permanently suspend quarantine.
"As soon as the outbreak broke out, my university student association created a team of volunteers to transfer doctors and nurses and deliver food to neighboring communities. I convinced my parents to let me participate: one day they will need help from volunteers like me" , explains Wang Xin Yi, a law student at Huazhong University.
Working in assistance
Later, when the city launched the strict quarantine, the local government took action and reorganized the volunteers into 11 types: medical services, security, assistance, psychological help, advertising, transport and administration, among others.
"I signed up to participate in the assistance program to help people who needed help in my community. There are 192 volunteers in my sub-district, six of them in my residential complex. My job every day was to distribute rice, oil, pasta and vegetables for those who needed it most, "says Xin Yi.
And if someone insisted on going to the market alone, Xin Yi would accompany him, since the residents were not allowed to leave the house and go to the markets.
"There was a foreign citizen in our residential complex who had moved to Wuhan about three months ago. We helped him to bring food, masks, everything he needed," he adds.
The hardest part of the job, says Xin Yi, is the misunderstanding: "There are people who ask me how much they pay me, others complain that the food they received is not as good as that of another community," he says.
"We also have to explain the situation and comfort people as much as possible. And although we wore protective clothing, sometimes people walked away, they avoided us and it was very uncomfortable," he says, although "all of those feelings are gone. when someone thanked us for our work ", he adds.
Day to honor the dead
At Wuhan Riverside Park, overlooking the Yantsé River, some people spend the day fishing, others walk alone and several groups – no more than three or four people together – dance or play "xiangqi", as chess is called in China.
There, a group of workers are preparing and rehearsing a commemorative ceremony for tomorrow, Day of Sweeping the Tombs, a holiday in which the Chinese honor the dead every year.
However, local authorities asked the Wuhans to stay in their homes to avoid crowds and observe the national day of mourning at home for the "martyrs" who died in the fight against the coronavirus and for those who died from the disease.
At 10 am local time, citizens across the country are called upon to maintain three minutes of silence in memory of the dead, while anti-aircraft alarms and car, train and ship horns sound in a sign of mourning.
The flags will be flown at half-mast during the day at official institutions, as well as at all Chinese embassies and consulates around the world, while public recreational activities are suspended across the country.
"We have to do what the government says. There is nothing we can do. Important authorities will come here," says a man in charge of logistics for the ceremony on Saturday, which will not be open to the public.
An elderly woman arranges flowers so that the place has all possible honors: "We cannot go to the cemetery, we cannot commemorate the dead … it is a little sad. But the situation is still complicated, we must protect ourselves", says the woman .