Something nearly unthinkable has happened in China: a return to normal – from morning tai-chi at Beijing’s Temple of the Sun, to the lunch crush in the central business district, and the rush home at sunset across the Avenue of Eternal Peace.

Chairman Mao Zedong keeps watch over Tiananmen Square, and a country living in a “post-COVID new normal.”

It’s hard to believe cities across China, with millions of people, looked like ghost towns earlier this year. In January CBS News was the first U.S. network in Wuhan, where the pandemic started. The government struck back hard and fast – forcing up to 50 million people into lockdown for two months; building new hospitals in less than two weeks; welding some families inside their homes; testing and contact tracing, descending on new outbreaks with speed; adopting a QR health code system on smartphones; banning nearly all foreigners from entering the country; and putting everyone who was allowed to return (including correspondent Ramy Inocencio) into a 14-day quarantine at a government-designated hotel, all thanks to a mix of authoritarian rule and the memory of SARS in 2003.


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