Photos show thousands packing into cars, planes, and trains in a rush to get out of Wuhan as China lifts the coronavirus lockdown
Xinhua/Cheng Min via Getty Images
- On Wednesday at midnight, Chinese authorities began allowing outbound travel from Wuhan, the city where the first coronavirus cases were reported last year.
- Throngs of people who can prove they are healthy are rushing out of the city by car, plane, and train.
- Travel from Wuhan was restricted for 76 days in an effort to keep the novel coronavirus outbreak contained.
- Wuhan, the initial epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, reported only three new cases in three weeks, according to official data.
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China has ended its 76-day lockdown of Wuhan - the Chinese city where the first cases of the novel coronavirus were reported in late 2019 - sending people flooding out of the city en masse.Toward the end of January, China abruptly sealed off Wuhan to halt the coronavirus' spread to other regions of the country, implementing a lockdown order that has now become common in other parts of the world.
The loosening of restrictions comes after Wuhan reported only three new coronavirus cases in three weeks. On Tuesday, the day before the lockdown ended, China reported no new coronavirus-related deaths for the first time since January, according to government figures, which are disputed.See what Wuhan looks like as people are allowed to move freely out of the city for the first time in months:
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The Chinese government just lifted the ban on outbound travel from Wuhan, the city where the first cases of the novel coronavirus were reported late last year.
At midnight on Wednesday morning, authorities in Wuhan began allowing people to travel out of the city…
...leading people to flood out of Wuhan.
Whether it was by car…
Or by train.
An estimated 55,000 people will catch trains out of the city on Wednesday, according to Chinese state media.
The Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan was bustling with travelers and taxis.
The first train leaving Wuhan's Hankou station was bound for the city of Jingzhou, which is about 150 miles away, according to The Wall Street Journal.
According to Chinese state media, the first train to leave Hubei province entirely was destined for Nanning in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which is roughly 750 miles southwest of Wuhan.
Around 200 flights were scheduled to fly to and from Wuhan on Wednesday — roughly one-third the typical total — and at least 11,855 had bought tickets to fly out of Wuhan that day, an airport official told The Wall Street Journal.
Healthcare workers from the Jilin province, who had traveled to Wuhan to aid in the response to the outbreak, were among the first to board flights out of the city.
Cars lined up at the city's exit points…
As police removed barricades...
And reopened long-closed tolls.
In anticipation of the travel ban being lifted, crews were sent to disinfect the airport...
However, not just anyone can leave the city — travelers must prove that they are healthy first.
That's done through a government-mandated phone app that analyzes a user's recent location data and medical history and tells authorities whether or not they pose an infection risk.
Airline employees were also seen checking people's temperature as they attempted to leave the city.
The same happened at train stations as well.
The lockdown began abruptly on January 23 in an effort to seal off the rest of China from the novel coronavirus.
The travel ban lasted 76 days, leaving thousands stranded within and outside the city, desperate to get back home.
According to official figures, more than 80,000 cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in China.
The majority of those cases occurred in the city of Wuhan or the surrounding Hubei province.
But over the last three weeks, only three new coronavirus cases were officially reported in Wuhan, signaling a light at the end of the tunnel for the city that was the initial epicenter of the now-global pandemic.
On Tuesday, a day before authorities loosened travel restrictions, China reported its first day without new coronavirus deaths since January.
Though travel has resumed and businesses have begun to reopen in Wuhan, the city's schools remain closed, people are still sheltering at home, and the crisis is far from over.
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