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In China's Hubei, uncertainty, pessimism and hope as life resumes

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In China's Hubei, uncertainty, pessimism and hope as life resumes

By Brenda Goh

 

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Li Yu, 55, a peddler selling corn, wears a face mask at an ancient city wall in Jingzhou, after the tourist attraction reopened as the lockdown was eased in Hubei province, the epicentre of China's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, March 26, 2020. Picture taken March 26, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

 

JINGZHOU, China (Reuters) - Li Yu is happy she sold six pieces of roasted corn on the day she reopened her stall after travel restrictions were lifted in Jingzhou, but she worries about the future of her business near the city’s ancient wall, a tourist attraction in Hubei province.

 

Li was forced to close her stall in late January as part of Hubei’s lockdown to tackle the spreading coronavirus epidemic, only opening on Thursday as China began lifting curbs on the province amid a sharp fall in locally-transmitted virus cases.

 

Li, 55, says business is at its worst in the seven years since she opened her stall. The Chinese Lunar New Year holiday in February is usually high season for Li, but the virus lockdowns killed that.

 

In normal times she makes 4,000 yuan (463.65 pounds) a month. The sale of six corn cobs would fetch around 12 yuan - a paltry daily income.

 

“The first half of the year is the season for the flowers to bloom. Many people come out here to admire the flowers, take pictures. It is supposed to be the peak period for us, but this year the coronavirus will definitely have a big impact,” Li told Reuters on Thursday.

 

For residents of Hubei, where the outbreak began late last year in its capital city of Wuhan, it has also left them to battle a stigma.

 

“Just look, there are so few people. Those from outside (Hubei) will not travel here for holiday,” said Li.

 

“Now Hubei in China is the hardest hit area, and no one dares to come. When they know you’re from Hubei they all keep away from you. They are scared.”

 

On the day Reuters spoke to Li only two of seven stalls around her section of the ancient wall were open, on Friday all the stalls were closed, with just a handful of people strolling around.

 

PESSIMISM AND HOPE

 

Chinese authorities have recently announced measures to try and get consumers spending and visiting tourist attractions again, such as by handing out millions of yuan worth of discount vouchers.

 

The government of Hubei, like others across the country, has also pledged to help tide over small businesses with policies such as value added tax exemptions.

 

That is little solace for Zhou Yanjun. Her restaurant, a 10 minute walk from Jingzhou’s ancient wall, is required to remain shut until further notice, although she is still on the hook to pay rent.

 

“Now we can only make food for ourselves to eat,” she said, as she prepared dinner for her family from her restaurant’s kitchen. “It’s going to be a very, very difficult year.”

 

Others found comfort in the reopening of the Jingzhou city’s ancient wall tourist area.

 

Friends Wang Jue and Xiao Man, both 25, met there on Wednesday for the first time since the lockdown was imposed two months ago.

 

Wang was still waiting to get back to her job in Wuhan, which remains on lockdown until April 8, while Xiao said she was applying for jobs, though she had yet to hear back for any in recent weeks.

 

Still, she was optimistic, Xiao said. “I hope everything can get back to normal soon.”

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-03-27

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3 hours ago, smedly said:

wow my heart is pouring out with sympathy 

 

If China doesn't offer the world compensation for this tragedy then I say we should block them, don't buy anything that was made in China - just completely boycott them and anything they are involved in 

 

time to start a global petition (deleted) them


There's no way China will offer compensation for this tragedy, and, why would they ?

Are African countries suppose to pay the bill for causing all them AIDs deaths outside of Africa ? Is the Canadian government going to compensate the Canadian Indians (the indigenous people of Canada) for killing a whole load of their recent ancestors by diseases.

Boycott China and don't buy anything made in China ? I think you will find that nearly all governments know that fighting a trade war with China will hurt them more than it hurts China. And what about Thailand ? Posters on ThaiVisa have already mentioned that, once this Corona Virus is over, Thailand will go all out to welcome back all the missing Chinese tourists.
Probably with a red carpet. It's being said by those posters with resentment. But yes, Thailand will be welcoming them back with a red carpet.

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Smedly, you are a heartless heartless being worse than a abused mongrel. Think it out yourself why I and my friends who read your comment think you are scum.

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4 hours ago, Gee Ku said:

Smedly, you are a heartless heartless being worse than a abused mongrel. Think it out yourself why I and my friends who read your comment think you are scum.

The leader of china is at fault here.....dirty communist scum hiding the virus and then exporting it to the world...xi jinping should be on trial for mass murder...

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World needs to try Xi regime for crimes against humanity, their so-called Covid-19.

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On 3/28/2020 at 12:04 PM, Gee Ku said:

Smedly, you are a heartless heartless being worse than a abused mongrel. Think it out yourself why I and my friends who read your comment think you are scum.

Shame you and your friends can't handle the truth.

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6 minutes ago, overherebc said:

Shame you and your friends can't handle the truth.

You know the truth or you just pedaling  assumption. WHO categorically said that they don’t know the origin of the virus. 

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3 minutes ago, Eric Loh said:

You know the truth or you just pedaling  assumption. WHO categorically said that they don’t know the origin of the virus. 

And you do?

Please put us all straight.

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10 minutes ago, overherebc said:

And you do?

Please put us all straight.

You seem so sure about the truth in your post. So you just assuming. Noted. 

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On 3/28/2020 at 12:04 PM, Gee Ku said:

Smedly, you are a heartless heartless being worse than a abused mongrel. Think it out yourself why I and my friends who read your comment think you are scum.

He can't be that bad.............His got the George Cross...................:coffee1:

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