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Dublin: 3°C Thursday 3 December 2020

Thousands of people leave Wuhan after the months-long lockdown was lifted

Wuhan, in Hubei province, was the source of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Passengers check in at the Wuhan Railway Station in Wuhan
Passengers check in at the Wuhan Railway Station in Wuhan
Image: PA Images

THOUSANDS OF RELIEVED citizens streamed out of China’s Wuhan city this morning after authorities lifted months of lockdown at the coronavirus epicentre, offering some hope to the world despite record deaths in Europe and the United States.

China has come under fire for its handling of the coronavirus crisis that originated there late last year and President Donald Trump threatened to cut US funding to the World Health Organization over perceived bias towards Beijing.

From Wuhan, the coronavirus spread rapidly worldwide, killing more than 80,000 people and damaging the global economy.

Many people were queuing up to depart Wuhan in hazmat suits today.

“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,” said Hao Mei, a 39-year-old single mother rushing to nearby Enshi to see her young children for the first time in two months.

“I’ve been stuck for 77 days! I’ve been stuck for 77 days!” shouted one man, who arrived at the railway station for a train back to his home province of Hunan.

A robot whizzed through crowds of passengers at the station, spraying their feet with disinfectant and playing a recorded message reminding them to wear face masks.

“Wuhan deserves to be called the city of heroes,” blared the PA system at the train station as an estimated 55,000 people departed the city.

While China celebrated its first day without coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, the relentless disease chalked up fresh milestones in hard-hit areas of Europe and the US.

A total of 1,939 people died in the US over the past 24 hours, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, as the country approaches tolls in worst-hit Italy and Spain.

Virus deaths hit a new daily high in Britain, where 55-year-old leader Boris Johnson was said to be “stable” and in “good spirits” despite receiving oxygen treatment in intensive care.

And Paris toughened its lockdown measures, banning daytime jogging to keep people from bending the rules as France breached 10,000 deaths.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state appeared to be nearing the peak of its outbreak but urged citizens to continue staying indoors.

© – AFP 2020

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