The industrial hub of over eleven million people and ground zero for the global outbreak, Wuhan, has come roaring back to life but more in the way of a dystopian version of itself after the virus peaked there in February and now with almost no new infections occurring according to official numbers.
Under strict lockdown since late January as the virus ripped through the original ‘hot zone’ epicenter of Hubei province, the capital city provides a glimpse of what hard-hit urban centers in the West may look like in a new post-lockdown world.
“So far, Wuhan’s answer has been to create a version of normal that would appear utterly alien to people in London, Milan, or New York — at least for the moment,” Bloomberg writes. It’s a situation that appears ‘normal’ but with a totalitarian twist: “Bolstered by China’s powerful surveillance state, even the simplest interactions are mediated by a vast infrastructure of public and private monitoring intended to ensure that no infection goes undetected for more than a few hours.”Police in some locations have begun to use AI-powered smart helmets to track citizens’ temperatures. Source: China News/Weibo via Daily Mail.
Just to get a major Lenovo tablet and phone factory on the outskirts of the city up and running again – previously closed for over two months – workers are first greeted by a series of four temperature checks. If flagged for even slightly higher than normal temperature (above 99.1F) they get referred to an in-house “anti-virus task force” to make determinations.
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