These measures are now easing — watched by the rest of the world — but the progress of a return to normality has been uneven, fraught with anxiety and sudden reversals.
Tourist attractions, public transport links, cinemas, restaurants, and shops across the country were cautiously reopened. But shortly after, many jurisdictions rushed to reimpose the lockdowns, fearing a second wave of infections.
In Jinzhou, Liaoning province, some businesses recently reopened their doors, according to the Guardian, but the city on Monday ordered clubs, karaoke bars and cafes to close.
People in Beijing pay tribute to China’s coronavirus victims during a national moment of silence on April 4, 2020.
On Wednesday, the 640,000 residents of Jia county, which neighbor the former epicenter of Hubei province, were placed back under a lockdown after a second wave of coronavirus cases was discovered.
Housing estates were sealed off, traffic was regulated, and mandatory temperature checks were brought back, according to Reuters.
After a 60-day lockdown of Xianning city ended on March 26, those leaving were told they needed to be tested for the virus and approved for travel. However, they were unable to, Reuters reported, as the test wasn’t available in the city’s largest hospital.
A recently reopened noodle shop in Wuhan seen on March 31, 2020.
In the week leading up to March 23, as many as 600 cinemas reopened all across China, but on March 27 a decree from China’s Film Bureau forced them all to close again.
Some epidemiologists believe that lockdowns merely delay the outbreak’s peak by a few months.
“What happened in Wuhan and now what’s happened in north Italy is not the peak of an epidemic. That’s about a month away from the peak,” Dr. Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong who researches influenza transmission and control measures, told Business Insider.
“They are still facing now, most likely, a second wave in one to two months’ time. So are they going to shut down again?”