Exodus from Wuhan begins as 76-day lockdown ends, but another starts

Updated on Apr 08, 2020 02:26 PM IST
China had sealed off Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, in late January to stop the spread of coronavirus disease Covid-19.
Medical workers hug at Tianhe International Airport after travel restrictions to leave Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and China's epicentre of the novel coronavirus disease Covid-19 outbreak, were lifted, on April 8.(Reuters Photo)
Medical workers hug at Tianhe International Airport after travel restrictions to leave Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and China's epicentre of the novel coronavirus disease Covid-19 outbreak, were lifted, on April 8.(Reuters Photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAgencies

Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus epidemic first broke out, ended a 76-day lockdown on Wednesday, and thousands of people voiced joy and excitement as they left the city.

Previously quiet train and bus stations bustled as an exodus began from the city of 11 million, with some passengers wearing hazmat suits.

China had sealed off Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, in late January to stop the spread of the virus. Over 50,000 people in Wuhan caught the virus, and more than 2,500 of them died, about 80 per cent of all deaths in China, according to official figures.

Watch: Wuhan lockdown lifted after 76 days, huge crowds seen at airport

 

Restrictions have eased in recent days as the capital of Hubei province saw just three new confirmed infections in the past 21 days and only two new infections in the past fortnight.

“You have no idea! I was already up around 4 am. I felt so good. My kids are so excited. Mum is finally coming home,” 39-year-old Hao Mei told news agency AFP as she waited to board a train. Mei, a single parent from the nearby city of Enshi, said her two children had been home alone since she got stuck in Wuhan, where she works in a school kitchen.

Up to 55,000 people are expected to leave Wuhan on Wednesday just by train, according to government estimates.

Buses and cars were also on roads out of the city on Wednesday morning, after barricades on its outskirts were dismantled with the ban on outbound travel being lifted at midnight.

“Wuhan has lost a lot in this epidemic, and Wuhan people have paid a big price,” a 21-year-old man surnamed Yao, who was heading back to his restaurant job in Shanghai, told AFP.

“Now that the lockdown has been lifted, I think we’re all pretty happy.”

“Wuhan deserves to be called the city of heroes,” blared an announcement over the passenger announcement system at one of the city’s train stations on Wednesday.

But even as people leave Wuhan, new imported cases in the northern province of Heilongjiang surged to a daily high of 25, fuelled by a continued influx of infected travellers arriving from Russia, which shares a land border with the province.

Suifenhe City in Heilongjiang restricted the movement of its citizens on Wednesday in a similar fashion to that of Wuhan.

Residents must stay in their residential compounds and one person from a family can leave once every three days to buy necessities and must return on the same day, said state-run CCTV.

In Jiaozhou City in the eastern province of Shandong the risk level had risen from low to medium, according to a post on an official website, but it gave no details why.

The state-run People’s Daily newspaper warned on Wednesday that opening up of Wuhan “does not mean releasing control”.

Wuhan residents have been urged not to leave their neighbourhood, their city and even the province unless absolutely necessary.

People from Wuhan arriving in the Chinese capital Beijing will have to undergo two rounds of testing for the virus.

China maintains strict screening protocols, concerned about any resurgence in domestic transmissions due to virus carriers who exhibit no symptoms and infected travellers arriving from overseas.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • FILE PHOTO: People watch a TV broadcasting a news report on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in North Korea, at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea.

    North Korean Parliament to discuss anti epidemic policy, rural development

    North Korea will convene two key meetings, including one to review the country's anti-epidemic policy, in coming weeks, state media said on Monday, as it claims no new COVID-19 cases since late July. The North Korean Supreme People's Assembly, the isolated state's rubber-stamp parliament, will meet on Sept. 7 to discuss law on rural development and organizational matters, according to the official KCNA.

  • The setting sun shines through a Black Lives Matter flag

    Over 600 kids strip searched by London police, mostly black boys: New data

    London's under-fire police force strip-searched more than 600 children over a two-year period, most of them black boys, according to new data released Monday. England's commissioner for children, Rachel de Souza, said she was "deeply shocked" by the figures after obtaining them from the Metropolitan police. The 15-year-old black schoolgirl was strip-searched by female officers in 2020 after being wrongly suspected of carrying cannabis, despite them being aware she was menstruating.

  • This picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon shows Palestinian rockets fired from the Gaza Strip on August 7, 2022. (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP)

    Israel and Palestinian militants declare Gaza truce

    The three-day clashes echoed preludes to previous Gaza wars, though they were relatively contained as Hamas, the governing Islamist group in the Gaza Strip and a more powerful force than Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad, had so far stayed out.

  • A salvo of rockets is fired from Gaza City towards Israel, on Sunday. 

    Five more killed in Gaza amid truce reports: Health ministry

    Five more people were killed in Gaza on Sunday evening, the enclave's health ministry said, amid reports a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants may be imminent. "Thirty-six martyrs, among them 11 children and four women, and 311 injured," the health ministry said, raising the death toll in the Palestinian enclave from 31 since fighting began on Friday.

  • A Chinese military jet flies over Pingtan island, one of mainland China's closest points to Taiwan, in Fujian province.

    China keeps up pressure on Taiwan with fourth day of drills

    China said Sunday it carried out its fourth consecutive day of military drills in the air and sea around Taiwan in the wake of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the self-ruled island, despite international calls to calm the tensions. The People's Liberation Army said the exercises focused on testing its long-range air and ground strikes. It did not say if it will continue the drills after Sunday.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, August 08, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now