Traditionally, hundreds gathered in front of the old customs house of the Hankow Customs House, one of the most popular New Year’s Eve locations in the city. When the building’s old clock reached midnight, many people released balloons, cheered and shouted “Happy New Year”.
“I am so incredibly happy,” said 20-year-old student and tourist Yang Wenxuan. “This is my first time in Wuhan. But it (the countdown) was so spectacular.”
“I hope to get my bachelor’s degree successfully and make a friend,” added Yang.
There was a strong police presence and strict crowd control. Some security forces told some of the few people without a mask that they had to wear one if they wanted to stay. Even so, the countdown seemed to be peaceful in a relaxed atmosphere.
The celebrations took place 12 months after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced in Wuhan what would later become known as the world’s first Covid-19 outbreak.
A team of WHO experts is due to arrive in China in January 2021 to investigate the causes of the pandemic.
Wuhan has been largely virus-free for months and has vaccinated certain groups of the local population in the past few days. But a small spike in cases in various Chinese cities, including Beijing, has reminded people of Wuhan that the pandemic is not over yet.
“I hope that in 2021 everything will go well in the country and that Wuhan can get back to normal and I hope that the world can defeat the pandemic soon,” said Anson Yang, who lives in Wuhan.
The 25-year-old, who works in the international trade sector, said his earnings were hit hard in 2020 and he knows many companies in Wuhan that have not yet returned to normal levels of trade.
Several students longed for an end to the pandemic so they could study in person. However, one college student drew some positive lessons from fighting the pandemic.
“When we look at the actions people have taken, the things people have done in the context of disease control and the like, a human or kind touch that we normally wouldn’t see was felt by everyone,” said the 21 Year old Chen Mengfan.