Wuhan, China (CNN)The first city in the world to go into lockdown due to the coronavirus is slowly returning to something that might be described as normal, after months of fear and anxiety.
But the scars of the viral outbreak which for 76 days shut down the Chinese city of Wuhan, and much of the surrounding Hubei province, lie just beneath the surface, with many citizens worried about a second outbreak and businesses still struggling to get back on their feet.
The first known cases of the virus were detected in Wuhan in mid-December. In the weeks that followed, case numbers spiked and from January 23 until April 8, residents were unable to leave the city as the Chinese government attempted to contain the outbreak.
But despite the attempts to halt the spread of the virus, it has now infected more than 2.6 million people worldwide.
In Wuhan though, the outbreak now appears to be largely under control, with no new cases or deaths reported in Hubei province as of the latest figures released Wednesday.
A man wearing a face mask arrives to buy vegetables at a stall in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on April 18.
Streets that only a few weeks ago were cordoned off behind police checkpoints are now open to traffic, while some public spaces such as the Wuhan Zoo are preparing to allow people back inside.
But that doesn’t mean people are letting their guard down or all the restrictions have lifted. Walking down the street, almost everyone continues to practice social distancing, keeping at least 1.5 meters (five feet) apart.
Many stores, including major chains such as Starbucks, have moved their goods and services out onto the sidewalk to avoid the need for customers to congregate inside.
Mr Xu, a local business owner, whose convenience store is set up across from a Wuhan convention center, said since he reopened in April there had been very few customers. “The situation now is not very optimistic. Even after businesses reopened, there are not many people. I’m a bit worried about this,” he said.
“I don’t know when (my business) can recover.”