“Everyone has accepted it quite openly,” said one resident of Wuhan, where coronavirus cases have exploded. “People are just desperate to move in a good direction now.”

Dec. 30, 2022, 11:19 AM UTC

By

Jennifer Jett and Olivia Guan

HONG KONG — Three years after it recorded the world’s first cases of the coronavirus, the central Chinese city of Wuhan is once again besieged by Covid-19.

The Chinese government’s abrupt lifting of its “zero-Covid” measures following mass protests has unleashed the virus on the world’s most populous nation, which experts say is undervaccinated and has little immunity after three years of global isolation. The sudden shift has overwhelmed hospitals and funeral homes in major cities and led countries including the United States to impose new restrictions on travelers from China amid worries that the outbreak could give rise to new variants of concern.

But in contrast to early 2020, when a 76-day lockdown emptied Wuhan’s streets and the virus was deadlier, residents of the city of 11 million say the mood is more relaxed — even as they and almost everyone they know are infected with the highly transmissible omicron variant.

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