They line up before opening their mouth wide for a sample from the back of the throat: worried after the appearance of new cases of COVID – 19, Wuhan residents obediently carry out general screening.
Despite the rain, they crowd in medical tents set up in car parks, in parks or at the foot of buildings in the metropolis where the new coronavirus appeared late 2019.
” It's good. It is a way of being responsible vis-à-vis others and yourself, “said a man 40 years after being screened.
Already tested in early May, he said he wanted to do a screening because Wuhan, city of 11 million inhabitants, was by far the most affected by China.
“If you have the opportunity, why not do it?” “
After the discovery of the human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus, China decided on 23 January to block all entry or exit from Wuhan – which is a large industrial center and a transport node.
The inhabitants were then forced to remain confined to their homes.
More than 3800 people died from COVID – 19 in Wuhan according to the official balance sheet – the vast majority of deaths registered in China.
The shutdown of the city was finally lifted in early April. Since then, life has gradually regained its rights.
But the ambient optimism has been showered in recent days with the announcement of six new cases of COVID – 19 in Wuhan, after a month without any additional contamination .
For fear of a second epidemic wave, the town hall then launched a general screening campaign.
Men, women, children and the elderly, dressed in full protective suits and equipped with plastic visors, now come to these medical tents where caregivers stick a swab in their throat.
Some Wuhans remain anxious, however
“The internal security measures are really bad. People are too close to each other, “a woman who does not wish to reveal her name tells AFP.
“The person who takes the tests handles the samples of lots of people but I haven't seen him wash his hands,” she says.
China has largely contained COVID – 19 on its territory. But it remains on the alert.
Because in addition to the six new cases of Wuhan, other foci of infection have appeared in recent weeks in the north-east of the country, bordering with Russia.
“Prevent any rebound”
Chinese President Xi Jinping thus called on Thursday at a meeting of the Communist Party to “leave nothing to chance” in the face of COVID – 19 and to “Prevent any rebound,” according to the new China news agency.
“The hard-won results against the epidemic cannot in any case be reduced to nothing,” he warned, calling in particular for a successful screening in Wuhan.
Despite the fear of a second wave, most Wuhans have however resumed an almost normal life.
Wednesday evening, on a walk along the Yangtze river, dozens of people listened to folk music in a carefree manner.
Masked couples waddled under the lampposts, right next to a lighted bridge with huge Chinese characters: “Courage Wuhan”.
“It's so fun to dance outside,” said Qiu Jumei, a 53 year-old hotel waitress.
“The atmosphere was not the same when I was dancing alone at home,” she says. “It’s much better here.”