Photos: How coronavirus turned life upside down for Wuhan

For eight days, an AFP team lived and worked at the centre of a global health emergency, witnessing how life in the Chinese city of Wuhan was turned upside down as it was cut off from the world. The team arrived in Wuhan the day the city was place under lockdown, and over the next week captured remarkable images of shock and resignation, despair and bravery. The lockdown was announced on January 23, dampening the spirit of the Chinese new year celebrations.

UPDATED ON FEB 12, 2020 06:30 PM IST 10 Photos
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Medical staff in protective gear to help stop the spread of the deadly virus which began in the city as they arrive with a patient at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, on January 25, 2020. For eight days, beginning January 23, an AFP team lived and worked at the centre of a global health emergency, witnessing how life in the Chinese city was turned upside down as it was cut off from the world. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

Medical staff in protective gear to help stop the spread of the deadly virus which began in the city as they arrive with a patient at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, on January 25, 2020. For eight days, beginning January 23, an AFP team lived and worked at the centre of a global health emergency, witnessing how life in the Chinese city was turned upside down as it was cut off from the world. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 12, 2020 06:30 PM IST
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People in face masks wait at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital, on January 24. The city of 11 million was placed under an unprecedented quarantine to try and stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. The virus, which has since gone on to kill more than 1,000 people across China, is believed to have crossed into humans from an animal market in Wuhan. The AFP team arrived in Wuhan the day the city was place under lockdown. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

People in face masks wait at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital, on January 24. The city of 11 million was placed under an unprecedented quarantine to try and stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. The virus, which has since gone on to kill more than 1,000 people across China, is believed to have crossed into humans from an animal market in Wuhan. The AFP team arrived in Wuhan the day the city was place under lockdown. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 12, 2020 06:30 PM IST
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In the early hours of January 23, China announced that all air, road and train links out of Wuhan will be suspended. At the time, the virus had killed 17 people and infected more than 500, just as millions of people were criss-crossing the country to reunite with friends and family for the Lunar New Year holiday. Shocked, most people didn’t even try to flee Wuhan before the order came into force. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

In the early hours of January 23, China announced that all air, road and train links out of Wuhan will be suspended. At the time, the virus had killed 17 people and infected more than 500, just as millions of people were criss-crossing the country to reunite with friends and family for the Lunar New Year holiday. Shocked, most people didn’t even try to flee Wuhan before the order came into force. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 12, 2020 06:30 PM IST
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Medical staff members working to stop the spread of the virus seen next to patients waiting for medical attention at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital. Hours before the Lunar New Year, shops were closed and there was a ghostly silence hanging over the city. The police and security services—usually prominent on Chinese city streets—were conspicuous by their absence. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

Medical staff members working to stop the spread of the virus seen next to patients waiting for medical attention at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital. Hours before the Lunar New Year, shops were closed and there was a ghostly silence hanging over the city. The police and security services—usually prominent on Chinese city streets—were conspicuous by their absence. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 12, 2020 06:30 PM IST
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A woman walks past posters advising residents on how to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in Heishanzhai village, north of Beijing. As the virus claims more lives and infects more people every day, it is also taking a toll on the country's small businesses that rely on spending from China's growing middle-class. (Greg Baker / AFP)

A woman walks past posters advising residents on how to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in Heishanzhai village, north of Beijing. As the virus claims more lives and infects more people every day, it is also taking a toll on the country's small businesses that rely on spending from China's growing middle-class. (Greg Baker / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 12, 2020 06:30 PM IST
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A man wearing a facemask cycles past an elderly man who collapsed and died on the pavement along a street near a hospital in Wuhan, on January 30. The body of this man in his 60s lay stiff on his back in front of a closed furniture store, near the hospital. He was still wearing a facemask. Officials in hazard suits took every precaution as they approached the body. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

A man wearing a facemask cycles past an elderly man who collapsed and died on the pavement along a street near a hospital in Wuhan, on January 30. The body of this man in his 60s lay stiff on his back in front of a closed furniture store, near the hospital. He was still wearing a facemask. Officials in hazard suits took every precaution as they approached the body. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 12, 2020 06:30 PM IST
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Hotel workers sport protective face masks as they exercise in the lobby during a staff briefing about how to implement new regulations concerning the current situation in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province, on January 28. In hospitals, people queued up in long lines to see a doctor. The wait was so long that some had brought their own chairs. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

Hotel workers sport protective face masks as they exercise in the lobby during a staff briefing about how to implement new regulations concerning the current situation in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province, on January 28. In hospitals, people queued up in long lines to see a doctor. The wait was so long that some had brought their own chairs. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 12, 2020 06:30 PM IST
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A security guard walks past a closed restaurant opposite a section of the Great Wall of China at Huanghuacheng, north of Beijing. At the Marco Polo Hotel, one of the few in Wuhan that had not closed it doors, there were compulsory masks, temperature checks and no restaurant. With no one at the reception, there was a heavy silence that jarred with the festive decorations all around. (Greg Baker / AFP)

A security guard walks past a closed restaurant opposite a section of the Great Wall of China at Huanghuacheng, north of Beijing. At the Marco Polo Hotel, one of the few in Wuhan that had not closed it doors, there were compulsory masks, temperature checks and no restaurant. With no one at the reception, there was a heavy silence that jarred with the festive decorations all around. (Greg Baker / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 12, 2020 06:30 PM IST
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Members of a family walk in a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Wuhan. The Guiyan temple, normally packed with hundreds of thousands of people welcoming in the New Year, was closed on New Year’s Day. “No-one is allowed inside in order to prevent the virus spreading,” a uniformed man—who was not wearing the compulsory mask—told AFP. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

Members of a family walk in a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Wuhan. The Guiyan temple, normally packed with hundreds of thousands of people welcoming in the New Year, was closed on New Year’s Day. “No-one is allowed inside in order to prevent the virus spreading,” a uniformed man—who was not wearing the compulsory mask—told AFP. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 12, 2020 06:30 PM IST
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Police officers and security guards stand outside the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market where coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan. People approached foreign journalists unprompted—a rare sight in China—to describe grim scenes in other hospitals. “Like a horror film,” said one witness, recalling how bodies were left unattended for hours. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

Police officers and security guards stand outside the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market where coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan. People approached foreign journalists unprompted—a rare sight in China—to describe grim scenes in other hospitals. “Like a horror film,” said one witness, recalling how bodies were left unattended for hours. (Hector Retamal / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 12, 2020 06:30 PM IST
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