Wuhan reopens after coronavirus lockdown

James Marshall
April 8, 2020

On Tuesday, the National Health Commission reported 32 new cases across China, all of which were arrivals from another country.

Its officially reported number of deaths and overall infections has plummeted in recent weeks.

China cut off all access to Wuhan on January 23, shutting down connections to other cities via air travel, high-speed rail and expressways.

A Beijing-based think tank has also warned that large-scale protests could break out in Wuhan following the end of the lockdown, as residents unhappy with unprecedented restrictions on their movements are likely to vent their pent-up frustrations.

As the numbers declined, China has gradually reopened its worst-affected cities, lifting sweeping travel restrictions on Wuhan - where the outbreak began - last month.

According to Johns Hopkins' running tally, there are more than 367,000 cases of new coronavirus in the United States - including in excess of 30,000 new cases in 24 hours - with total deaths at 10,876.

The new virus was first detected late past year in Wuhan, the capital city of hardest-hit Hubei Province, and a business and transportation hub with a population of around 11 million.

The number of deaths related to the pandemic has been dwindling, with the death toll remains in the single-digit in the last three weeks, according to China's health authority National Health Commission.

Xiao Yonghong had found herself stuck in Wuhan after returning to her hometown on January 17 to spend the Lunar New Year with her husband, son and parents-in-law.

"We are living in a good era", Chen said.

After reversing the tide of its own coronavirus outbreak, Beijing has extended a hand to other stricken nations, shipping out over $1 billion in medical supplies, including almost four billion masks to date, according to the Global Times.

Government estimates said almost half the people expected to leave Wednesday were bound for the southern economic powerhouse of Guangdong province, a magnet for migrant workers.

Tickets for trains out of Wuhan to cities across China already were advertised on electronic billboards, with the first train leaving for Beijing at 6:25 a.m. People can now leave the city if they can show authorities that they have a green QR code - indicating that they are healthy - on a phone app.

At the city's Hankou train station a robot whizzed through crowds of passengers, spraying their feet with disinfectant and playing a recorded message reminding them to wear face masks.

Passengers wait in line for train K81 at Wuchang Railway Station in Wuhan. The airport is expected to see more than 200 inbound and outbound flights on the day, according to the airport.

The milestone comes a day before the government is set to lift outbound travel restrictions on people in Wuhan, the country's hardest-hit city. "It will be very smooth because we have made much preparation for this flight", Guo said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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