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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020

Thousands start to leave Wuhan in China as ban lifted on outbound travel

Yesterday, China reported no new coronavirus deaths for the first time since January.

A staff member disinfects the interior of a train at a depot in Wuhan, China yesterday in preparation for today.
A staff member disinfects the interior of a train at a depot in Wuhan, China yesterday in preparation for today.
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

AUTHORITIES IN THE Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated, have lifted the ban on travel leaving the city.

Thousands of people flocked to catch early trains out of Wuhan after the ban was lifted.  

The scheduled removal of the ban at midnight in China (4pm Irish time) ends more than two months of isolation.

The lockdown began when the government imposed measures in late January in an attempt to contain the spread of Covid-19. 

Crowds of passengers filed into the city’s Wuchang station to catch the first trains set to pull out of the city of 11 million shortly after midnight.

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

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

Residents of Hubei and its capital Wuhan had been confined to their homes until about two weeks ago, when restrictions began to be eased, triggering a resumption of inbound travel from other parts of China.

Authorities, however, had waited until Wednesday in China to allow normal traffic out of Wuhan.

Hubei has suffered the majority of China’s officially claimed tally of more than 81,000 overall infections and more than 3,300 deaths.

China has reported no new coronavirus deaths for the first time yesterday since it started publishing figures in January.

Cases on the mainland have been dwindling since March, but the country faces a second wave of infections from overseas.

However, there are suspicions – denied by China – that Beijing continues to intentionally under-report the real number of deaths and infections.

The country announced that all nationals returning from the US, Italy and Iran will have to provide daily updates on their health to a WeChat app for up to two weeks before their flights or be denied boarding.

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