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Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Wuhan Unlocked: Residents Dash for Trains and Planes as Chinese City at the Epicenter of Original Coronavirus Outbreak Finally has Lockdown Lifted After 76 Days

Coronavirus China: Residents run to transport as lockdown lifts
People living in the Chinese city where coronavirus first emerged were permitted to leave for the first time since it was locked down, despite fears infections could arise if restrictions are eased too quickly. China sealed off the city of Wuhan on January 23 when it became apparent the deadly COVID-19 virus was spiralling out of control there. 

But at 00.50am on Wednesday, trains carrying people out of the city began running, and major highways also began opening up and flights left the airport as the lockdown was lifted. Some 55,000 people will leave Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, on Wednesday, according to state broadcaster CCTV, as topics including 'Welcome back Wuhan' trended on Chinese social media sites. Meanwhile, authorities in Hong Kong extended restrictions there until the end of the month. Pictured: Left, a man on the first train out of Wuhan this morning. Right: Passengers arrive in protective clothing for their trains out of Wuhan.

Passengers queue at Wuhan city's main rail station as the lockdown is lifted after 76 days
Passengers queue at Wuhan city's main rail station as the lockdown is lifted after 76 days
A woman wearing a protective face mask and pink overalls stands with her luggage next to the first official train departing from Wuhan
A woman wearing a protective face mask and pink overalls stands with her luggage next to the first official train departing from Wuhan
People passing through security at the railway station in Wuhan, a body temperature checking feature is also used
People passing through security at the railway station in Wuhan, a body temperature checking feature is also used
When the lockdown was lifted the topic quickly began trending on China's Twitter-like Weibo platform.
'Wuhan lifts lockdown' and 'Welcome back Wuhan' were posted. 
Some 55,000 people will leave Wuhan on Wednesday, according to ticket sales reviewed by state broadcaster CCTV.
A person in full protective clothing and eye mask plans their travel using their phone
A person in full protective clothing and eye mask plans their travel using their phone
Passengers seen here with luggage getting ready to board a train after the lockdown was lifted
Passengers seen here with luggage getting ready to board a train after the lockdown was lifted
Locals at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan after the restrictions on movement were lifted
Locals at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan after the restrictions on movement were lifted
Despite the lockdown being lifted some passengers outside the station still opted to wear hazmat-style protective suits to make their journeys
Despite the lockdown being lifted some passengers outside the station still opted to wear hazmat-style protective suits to make their journeys
At the height of the virus, Wuhan's lockdown saw citizens forced into their homes by authorities.
And transport hubs and streets were desolate except for police patrols and emergency workers. 
But restrictions in the city have dropped off in recent days as new infections significantly fell. 
For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, mainland China reported no Covid-19-related deaths on Tuesday.
The main concern surrounds cases coming into the country and those who are asymptomatic but could still transfer the virus to others
The main concern surrounds cases coming into the country and those who are asymptomatic but could still transfer the virus to others
Passengers from Wuhan arrive through security barriers at Changsha station earlier today
Passengers from Wuhan arrive through security barriers at Changsha station earlier today
Some passenger still wore protective suits despite lockdown coming to an end today
Some passenger still wore protective suits despite lockdown coming to an end today
The city of Wuhan reported just two new infections in the past 14 days.
But Chinese authorities are having to tread a very fine line between granting more freedom of movement to citizens, and guarding against a second wave of infections.
Their main concern surrounds cases coming into the country and those who are asymptomatic but could still transfer the virus to others.
Health officials are still encouraging people in Wuhan to not leave their neighbourhoods, the city, and the province, unless absolutely necessary.
Tall barriers remain in place around housing compounds and people are only permitted to leave if they have a green health code or are carrying documents stipulating a valid reason.
Liu Xiaomin, leaving Wuhan on Wednesday, said she and her family had travelled to the city for the Lunar New Year holiday and became stuck there.
A migrant worker, normally based in Guangdong, reported she was heading back to her hometown of Xiangyang city. 'I'm very happy, I'm going home today,' she told Reuters inside Wuhan's Hankou railway station.
'My mood will be better but when I get back I still won't go out too much.'
Meanwhile authorities on Hong Kong said on Wednesday social-distancing restrictions including the closure of some bars and pubs and a ban on public gatherings of more than four people would be extended until April 23 as it continues to battle to halt the spread of coronavirus.
The first train departing Wuhan after lockdown was lifted, Train G431, leaves the station with a wave from staff on board
The first train departing Wuhan after lockdown was lifted, Train G431, leaves the station with a wave from staff on board
Staff on the high-speed trains out of Wuhan await passengers as lockdown in the city ends
Staff on the high-speed trains out of Wuhan await passengers as lockdown in the city ends
The government said a 'drastic' more than a two-fold spike in the number of cases in Hong Kong over the past two weeks to 936 meant the move was necessary. Four people in the former British colony have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Other restrictions that have been extended include the closure of gyms, cinemas, mahjong parlours, karaoke lounges and nightclubs. Beauty salons and massage parlours have been added to the list.
The global financial hub has also extended indefinitely a two-week closure of its airport to foreign arrivals that were due to end on Tuesday.
While schools remain closed, many people work from home and shopping malls and restaurants are largely deserted, Hong Kong has stopped short of a full lockdown imposed in other cities such as London and New York.
China sealed off the city of Wuhan on January 23, when it became apparent the deadly Covid-19 virus had started there.
But at 00.50am on Wednesday, trains carrying people out of the city began running, and major highways also began opening up as China's lockdown on Wuhan was lifted.
Wuhan has a population of some 11 million people.
Via - Dailymail

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