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Happy Chinese New Year 2021

Foreigners, locals enjoy holiday as Wuhan rebounds

Updated: Feb 19, 2021 By YUE WENWAN,DAI WEI and CAO PENGYUAN in Wuhan China Daily Print
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Israeli entrepreneur Raz Galor visits Li Jing, an illustrator in the city. [Photo/Xinhua]

Solidarity, joint efforts

Last year, Galor, the Israeli entrepreneur, was in his home country during Spring Festival. However, he had no time to celebrate the occasion by eating his customary hotpot, because he was busy gathering medical supplies to be sent to hospitals in Hubei.

He was also occupied with something else. "For several days, all I did was confront the media about discriminatory reports aimed at Chinese people because of the virus," he said.

At the time, Galor, who is based in Beijing, felt the need for content to be produced "to make people more aware of the scientific situation, rather than a cultural situation where people are blaming others and being discriminatory".

"We needed more positivity and less hatred and blame," he said.

During these bleak times, Li Jing, an illustrator in Wuhan, was among the locals who contracted the virus and was admitted to a temporary hospital.

"I was transferred to a makeshift hospital, which used to be a gymnasium. Before I arrived there, I thought the place was going to be in a bad state and that they would lack medics. But it was the opposite. It was really great," Li said.

She also recalled how the doctors and nurses took good care of the patients.

As Li recovered, she began to draw pictures of doctors and patients going about their daily routines. She published her work on social media platforms, attracting considerable attention online.

Galor said, "Her artistic skills are amazing, but what impressed me more was her sheer optimism in the face of danger.

"She faced a lot of uncertainty at the height of the outbreak, but despite this, she managed to find hope to make the situation a little more positive," he added.

For Platto, the Italian professor, Spring Festival last year was also a time she will never forget.

"When the lockdown began in Wuhan on Jan 23, it was Matteo's birthday," the mother of one said.

She acted quickly, changing her son's birthday plans due to the lockdown. She ended up buying a cake and staging the party online.

During the lockdown, Platto relied heavily on deliverymen for groceries and other necessities.

"While we stayed safe at home, deliverymen were risking their lives every day to bring food and provisions to hospitals and the rest of the city. They are the heroes of this pandemic," she said.

Just one year later, Platto goes shopping for clothes and groceries with one of the deliverymen, her new friend Peng Zilong.

Last year, Peng, 30, volunteered to take meals and daily essentials to hospitals across Wuhan.

This year, he decided to stay in city for Spring Festival, as due to the workload during the holiday, not everyone could go home. Peng forsook his own happiness to enable his colleagues to reunite with their families.

People were encouraged to spend Spring Festival this year in the towns and cities where they work.

Data from Wuhan Tianhe International Airport show that arrival and departure passenger traffic dropped by more than 60 percent compared with the same period in 2019.

Galor said: "I think Chinese people's willingness to make sacrifices for others is quite obvious-and not just in Wuhan. This year, people still made sacrifices by not going home."

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