CORONAVIRUS epicentre Wuhan has been struck by massive floods that have reportedly left at least 121 dead or missing.
The city of 11 million people in the central Hubei province has been deluged by waters from the Yangtze River which continues to swell after weeks of torrential rain.
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On social media, some locals are asking whether Wuhan has become a “cursed” city because it has lurched from one disaster to another, reports 7News.
The city shot to international fame earlier in the year after it became the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak, which became a pandemic that has so far killed at least 590,000 globally.
Scientists believe that Covid-19 first originated in bats before spreading to humans in Wuhan, possibly at one of the Chinese city's so-called wet markets.
Conspiracy theories about its origins persist however, with governments suggesting it may have come from the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab.
Officials had sealed off the central city on January 23, when the killer bug began spiralling out of control.
It stopped the movement of Wuhan's residents with all public transport, including buses, railways, flights, and ferry services suspended for more than two months.
Heavy rainfall may be the first step in a chain of disasters
Officially 3,000 perished in Wuhan from the airborne virus.
But those living there reportedly believe about 42,000 people died, with some estimating more given the number of cremation urns being delivered to the city.
Now the city has been hit hard again, this time by horrific flooding.
Mayor Zhou Xianwang promised that crucial flood defence work would not be affected by any new coronavirus lockdowns.
The city was badly hit by devastating floods on the Yangtze in 1998.
It comes as World Health Organisation officials had been planning to prepare land there and begin the long-awaited international investigation into the origins and early handling of the Covid-19.
Water exceeded warning levels at more than 50 locations along China's rivers, according to data from the Ministry of Water Resources on Monday.
Chen Tao, a senior forecaster with the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), said regions along the Yangtze could see as much as 400 mm of rainfall in the next three days.
Particular attention needed to be paid to small and medium-sized rivers and to risks such as mudslides and the inundation of farmland, he said.
"Heavy rainfall may be the first step in a chain of disasters," he was quoted as saying on the bureau's website.
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