How Wuhan Is Still Controlling Its Residents After the Coronavirus Lockdown

Residents are getting their "health codes" scanned everywhere they go.
April 9, 2020, 6:46pm

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.

The lockdown in Wuhan, ground zero for the global coronavirus pandemic, ended on Wednesday. People can now come and go from the city — but the government is still controlling the movements of its 11 million residents.

“We cannot just relax and lay back,” Lei Jiao, a Wuhan resident, told VICE News.

Every building complex and neighborhood has a checkpoint where community and government workers scan people’s health code, a designation that classifies people based on their risk factors, such as contact with contaminated people or whether they have a fever.

As life slowly restarts in the city after 76 days of lockdown, residents are having their codes scanned and temperatures taken everywhere they go in public, from grocery stores to the subway.

“Lifting the lockdown does not mean we’re getting rid of disease prevention measures,” said Hu Shuguan, deputy head of the Epidemic and Prevention Control Bureau. “Opening up the doors of the city certainly does not mean opening up the doors of your homes.”

For her part, Lei believes the measures will last for the foreseeable future.

“The city will be back and recover, but it’s going to be very long,” she said. “I think people will feel the impact in the years or decades to come.”