The central Chinese city of Wuhan marked on Saturday one year since it announced a severe lockdown to contain the coronavirus that was spreading through the city and overwhelming hospitals.
Citizens awoke to news of the lockdown early in the morning of January 23, 2020, just days after a well-known epidemiologist announced the virus was transmissible between humans.
The lockdown was eventually expanded to most of the rest of Hubei province, affecting 56 million people, but the virus had already spread well beyond China’s borders.
Wuhan has been largely free from the virus since the end of the lockdown, while smaller outbreaks have set off renewed containment measures in many other Chinese cities.
One year on, the city seemed to have largely returned to normal.
The famous riverbank was blanketed by fog on Saturday morning, though residents were seen jogging, some taking a stroll, another group practicing Tai Chi.
The anniversary of the lockdown Saturday comes as more contagious variants of the coronavirus spread across the globe and efforts to vaccinate people against COVID-19 have been frustrated by disarray and limited supplies in some places.
COVID-19 has killed so far over two million people worldwide.
China’s government has sought to cast doubt that Wuhan is the source of the pandemic, pushing fringe theories that the virus was actually brought from outside the country, possibly by U.S. soldiers.
The city is now hosting a team sent by the World Health Organization to begin investigating the virus’ origins.