Restaurant relying on Wuhan market still struggles

For 38-year-old Wuhan restaurant owner Lai Yun, life has never been the same after the city became the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

Before the city began a gruelling 76-day lockdown in January, Lai started most days the same way - a trip to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market - where the first cluster of cases was detected.

One year on, the market still stands empty, Lai, who reopened his restaurant in June, has to get his ingredients elsewhere.

"Now we stock up through certain supermarkets. These goods cost me about 240 - 250 yuan today. If we bought from the Huanan Seafood Market like before, we should be able to get the same amount of goods for half of the price, about 120 yuan."

On the second floor above the empty market, shops selling glasses and optometry equipment are open.

The city of Wuhan has largely come back to life, but the market has become a symbol of fierce political and scientific battle around the origin of the virus, which has claimed more than 1.5 million lives.

Beijing continues to spar with the United States and other countries, accusing them of bias.

This week, a guard at the entrance to the eyeware market took temperatures and warned journalists not to take videos or photos from inside the building.

A team of World Health Organization experts has yet to visit Wuhan.

Health authorities in China and abroad have warned that origin tracing efforts could take years and yield inconclusive results.

In Wuhan, the city has not reported any new locally transmitted cases since May, but for people like Lai, whose income has decreased and relies on the market, it's still difficult.

"Now you see enthusiasm and optimism in Wuhan people, but in fact, people still have huge trauma deep in their hearts. If there is a clear statement, even if it is confirmed, we could face it correctly. But there is no way to face it now and I don't know what is going on. So I still hope that we could get an official statement, if possible."

Video Transcript

- For 38-year-old woman restaurant owner Lai Yun, life has never been the same after the city became the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. Before the city began a grueling 76-day lockdown in January, life started most days the same way a trip to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, where the first cluster of cases was detected. One year on the market still stands empty. Lai, who reopened his restaurant in June, has to get his ingredients elsewhere.

INTERPRETER: Now we stock up through certain supermarkets. These goods cost me about 240 to 250 yuan today. If we bought from the Huanan Seafood Market like before, we should be able to get the same amount of goods for half of the price, about 120 yuan.

- On the second floor above the empty market, shops selling glasses and optometry equipment are open. The city of Wuhan has largely come back to life, but the market has become a symbol of fierce political and scientific battle around the origin of the virus, which has claimed more than 1.5 million lives. Beijing continues to spar with the United States and other countries accusing them of bias.

This week a guard at the entrance to the eyewear market took temperatures and warned journalists not to take videos or photos from inside the building. A team of World Health Organization experts has yet to visit Wuhan. Health authorities in China and abroad have warned that origin tracing efforts could take years and years. Inconclusive results in the city has not reported any new locally transmitted cases since May, but for people like Lai, whose income has decreased and relies on the market, it's still difficult.

INTERPRETER: Now you see enthusiasm and optimism in Wuhan people, but, in fact, people still have huge trauma deep in their hearts. If there is a clear statement, even if it is confirmed, we can face it correctly. But there is no way to face it now and I don't know what is going on. So I still hope that we hear an official statement, if possible.