Asia virus latest: Wuhan lockdown ends, markets drop

James Marshall
April 8, 2020

The first cases of infection with the coronavirus were detected in Wuhan in December.

Despite the drastic containment steps, the pathogen spread across China and the world.

"The people in Wuhan paid out a lot and bore a lot mentally and psychologically", resident Zhang Xiang said.

Voicing joy and excitement from behind face masks, tens of thousands of people fled Wuhan after a 76-day travel ban was lifted on the Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged.

Relief over China's falling virus numbers has been tempered, however, by caution over new risks: rising numbers of infected people arriving from overseas - primarily returning Chinese citizens - and the invisible threat of asymptomatic cases.

Italy has, by far, the world's highest death toll - over 17,100.

Based on ticket sales, 55,000 people will leave Wuhan by train on Wednesday, state broadcaster CCTV reported, citing the railway authority.

Before the city was reopened, Central China's Hubei Province said on Tuesday it will stick to first-level emergency response in tackling COVID-19, even as its capital, Wuhan, lifts travel restrictions.

Still, there were public and private celebrations of the end of lockdown.

Within 11 days, the two-story 1,000-bed infirmary was up and running, treating hundreds of COVID-19 patients. And we think three weeks is tough.

China has reported zero new Covid-19 deaths for the first time since January, despite struggles with ongoing outbreaks including in Wuhan where dozens of residential blocks have been locked down just one day before travel restrictions were set to be lifted. The number of symptomatic patients exceeded 50,000.

During the lockdown, Wuhan residents could leave their homes only to buy food or attend to other tasks deemed absolutely necessary.

Just one week later on February 19, the number of daily infections reported in Wuhan dropped to three digits and another two weeks later to two digits, prompting Xi to visit the city in mid-March for the first time since the outbreak.

Jonathan Serrie reports from Atlanta on the milestone in China as the US works to protect hospital workers on the frontlines of COVID-19.

The city and its 11 million people have been under a strict lockdown for over 10 weeks.

Wuhan is the epicenter of the global COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for most of China's 82,000 official coronavirus cases and 3,300 deaths.

Those critics say Beijing may be underreporting the total number of infections and deaths linked to the outbreak.

Still, authorities are walking a fine line between allowing greater freedom of movement and economic activity while also guarding against a second wave of infection, with particular concern around imported cases and people who show no symptoms but can still pass on the virus.

The United States is among the worst affected countries, with almost 400,000 people diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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