Exodus From Wuhan Begins

More than 55K left on trains after lockdown was lifted
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2020 4:29 PM CDT
Exodus From Wuhan Begins
A police officer wearing a face mask to protect against the spread of new coronavirus stands near a screen showing departing flight information at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Wednesday, April 8, 2020.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

For the first time in 11 weeks, people are being allowed to leave the city where the coronavirus pandemic began—and tens of thousands of them rushed to so on Wednesday. Authorities in Wuhan say some 55,000 people left the city by train Wednesday after the lockdown was lifted, with many thousands more leaving by car and roughly 200 scheduled flights. Hao Mei, who works in a school kitchen, tells AFP that her two children, the younger of them a 10-year-old girl, have been home alone in the nearby city of Enshi since she was trapped in Wuhan 76 days ago, when the lockdown began. "You have no idea! I was already up around 4am," she says. "I felt so good. My kids are so excited. Mum is finally coming home."

Road barricades have been dismantled and residents will no longer need special authorization to travel in and out of the city, though they have to show a "health code" on a mandatory smartphone app that confirms they are healthy and haven't been with anybody who's tested positive for COVID-19, the AP reports. Their neighborhood must also have been declared virus-free. But while travel restrictions have eased, some other parts of China will require arrivals from Wuhan to be tested for the coronavirus or be quarantined for 14 days. Schools in Wuhan will remain closed for now and residents are being discouraged from traveling around the city without a good reason. (Read more Wuhan stories.)

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