Coronavirus News Asia

China virus epicenter eases travel restrictions


The Chinese city of 11 million people that was Ground Zero for what became the global coronavirus pandemic partly reopened on Saturday after more than two months of almost total isolation.

Wuhan was placed under lockdown in January with residents forbidden to leave, roadblocks ring-fencing the city’s outskirts and drastic restrictions on daily life.

But the major transport and industrial hub has now signalled the end of its long isolation, with state media showing the first officially sanctioned passenger train arriving back into the city just after midnight.

People are now allowed to enter but not leave, and many trains had been fully booked days in advance.

AFP saw crowds of passengers arriving at Wuhan station on Saturday, most wheeling suitcases alongside them.

Some had managed to slip back into the city a day earlier on rail services that were stopping in the city — but nominally banned passengers from disembarking — as enforcement of the travel ban began to ease.

One woman who arrived on Friday said she and her daughter had been away from her husband for nearly 10 weeks.

“As the train neared Wuhan, my child and I were both very excited,” the 36-year-old said on Saturday.



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