Metro Lines and Malls Reopening in Wuhan
Capital of Hubei province begins to wake from epidemic control measures
Wuhan, the city hit hardest by the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak on the Chinese mainland, has been gearing up for the restoration of normalcy after businesses and public transport in the city were suspended around two months ago for epidemic control.
Some shopping malls and marketplaces in Hubei’s provincial capital will resume business Monday, while six metro lines reopened on Saturday. However, facilities like cinemas, bookstores, pubs, gyms and training institutions are still not allowed to operate, and only takeout services are permitted for restaurants, according to city authorities.
Luo Fei, deputy general manager of the Wushang Plaza Shopping Center, said all its public areas have been disinfected regularly since March 23 to prepare for its reopening.
Customers will be asked to wear face masks, have their temperatures checked and show their health QR codes before entering the shopping center, Luo said, adding that all the managers, sales and security personnel and sanitation workers will also be subject to regular temperature checks, and anyone with cough or fever symptoms will not be allowed to work.
Wuhan has reported just one newly confirmed case of novel coronavirus pneumonia since March 18. Liu Dongru, deputy head of the provincial Health Commission, told a news conference on Friday that the city has had its coronavirus risk evaluation downgraded from “high risk” to “medium risk.”
According to the risk criteria definitions in a guideline issued by China’s State Council, cities, counties and districts with no newly confirmed cases in the previous 14 days are categorized as low-risk areas; those with fewer than 50 cases or those with over 50 but without a concentrated outbreak are classified as medium-risk areas; and those with over 50 cases and a concentrated outbreak are classified as highrisk areas.
On Saturday, Wuhan residents could travel by subway again. Before entering subway stations, they are required to scan QR codes by using widely available smartphone apps through which they must register by their real names so that their travel histories can be traced. As they get off the train, passengers have to scan the QR code posted in the carriage again in order to track which one they took.
All the measures are designed to make it easy to contact passengers in case infections are found on the subway network, the metro system authorities said.
Infrared thermometers have been installed in security-check areas to take passengers’ temperatures. Those who have normal temperatures are allowed in, while those with fevers are subject to further temperature checks or quarantine.
Security personnel are being stationed on every train to guide passengers and provide them with needed services.
Jin Jing, head of the Hongshan Square Station, said all public areas and facilities in the station were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before the subway resumed operation.
The station was ready to regain its former hustle and bustle after taking additional measures to protect passengers’ safety, Jin said.
A passenger surnamed Chen, who works for a local hospital, said that when he took the subway and saw the passenger flow, he felt the city had awakened.
The city’s subway system recorded some 183,200 trips on Saturday, according to the subway operating company, about 5 percent of the number this time last year.