China's Wuhan lockdown ends, but another begins as local coronavirus cases rise

  • China's Wuhan lockdown ends, but another begins as local coronavirus cases rise

China's Wuhan lockdown ends, but another begins as local coronavirus cases rise

And we think three weeks is tough.

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

Broadcasters have also published footage of a rush of cars traveling through toll stations on the outskirts of the city immediately after the lockdown was lifted.

"I've been stuck for 77 days!"

Passengers wait in line for train K81 at Wuchang Railway Station in Wuhan.

China ended the months-long lockdown in Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus outbreak first began.

The rest of surrounding Hubei province quickly followed, confining tens of millions of people at homes and cutting the province off from the world as transport in and out was halted.

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

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. "Wuhan people are historically famous for their strong will".

Despite the drastic containment steps, the pathogen spread across China and the world. New imported infections accounted for 59 of the cases.

The National Health Commission said that it had just 32 confirmed cases, down from 39 cases on Monday.

It comes after China reported no deaths on Tuesday, the first time since it began publishing figures.

Mainland China's new cases doubled in 24 hours as the number of infected overseas travellers surged, and new asymptomatic infections more than quadrupled, pressuring authorities to tighten measures to stem local transmissions.

Wuhan residents were still being urged not to leave their neighbourhoods, the city and even the province unless necessary, health officials said on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the people of Wuhan will be allowed to leave the city for the first time since January.

Ninety per cent of the people arriving in China are returning Chinese citizens, China's Foreign Ministry said.

Despite the new freedom, many prevention measures remain in force in the city and those leaving Wuhan - the epicenter of the global pandemic - face numerous hurdles when arriving at their destinations elsewhere.

The exact source of the virus remains under investigation, though numerous first COVID-19 patients were linked to an outdoor food market in the city.

"In the end, everyone was stuck here together", said a 25-year-old Wuhan man who came home for January's Lunar New Year holiday and got stuck. Even then, authorities could turn them back on a technicality such as missing a stamp, preventing thousands from returning to their jobs outside the city.

"There was definitely some difficulty".

China has imposed centralised quarantine for most arrivals from overseas for two weeks. "They treat all Wuhan people like the virus", she told AFP.