Coronavirus: The Wuhan market where the pandemic started

  • Video report by ITV News Asia Correspondent Debi Edward

The streets around Wuhan's Wet Market today lie eerily empty.

Blocked off by blue barricades, it is blamed for a global pandemic.

A virus linked to several of its stall holders, forced the Chinese government to shut it down on January 1.

The same day, China contacted the World Health Organisation to let them know about what we now call Covid-19.

Chen Qingbo was one of the first to be infected by Covid-19. Credit: ITV News

Chen Qingbo was among that first cluster of cases, he sold seafood at the market.

He told ITV News: "I was hospitalized on December 26 after not feeling well for a week. I thought I had caught a cold but I was later transferred to ICU.

"The hospital classed me as in a critical condition."

China's trade in exotic delicacies at these fresh meat and live animal markets has been banned as investigations continue.

But not all are happy, including Chen Qingbo, he continued: "It is unfair to blame the market. We are also victims."

People are still taking precautions in Wuhan even though the lockdown has mostly been lifted. Credit: ITV News

Mr Qingbo was treated at the Jinyintan hospital, described as the epicentre of the epicentre.

Records there are being reviewed as part of the effort to identify a "patient zero".

An elderly man with Alzheimer's and a 57-year-old woman who sold shrimps at the market are among several cases claimed to be the first of Covid-19.

Tracing the patient zero of an infectious disease like this is as difficult as it is potentially important for predicting an end to the pandemic.

Doubts about China's numbers, particularly its low death rate, make its path hard to predict.

The head of Jinyintan hospital claims a rapid improvement in treatment saved more lives.

Doctor Zhang Dingyu told ITV News: "We quickly adjusted our treatment measures to national standards and the mortality rate declined."

The medical teams now leaving Wuhan appear to be celebrating a success.

They leave behind many unanswered questions about a virus that spread from this city to the rest of the world.