These videos show the first flight and first passenger train to arrive in the virus-hit city of Wuhan after lockdown restrictions are lifted for the first time in 76 days.
China placed strict travel restrictions on all 11 million inhabitants in the capital city of Central China’s Hubei Province on 23rd January, closing all 75 points of entry.
Those harsh measures, which were quickly extended to the entire province, finally ended for those in coronavirus epicentre Wuhan at midnight Beijing time today (8th April).
XiamenAir flight 8095 became the first commercial plane to touch down at Tianhe airport in over two months when it landed at 8:30am local time.
Footage shows the aircraft being received with a dramatic water salute, with the plane taxiing towards the terminal apron as fire engines shoot columns of water overhead.
However, long before MF 8095 touched down, long-haul passenger train K81 became the first to pass through one of Wuhan’s three train terminals when it stopped at Wuchang railway station at 50 minutes past midnight.
It had set off from the city of Xi’an, capital of north-western Shaanxi Province, on a 1,000-mile journey to Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province in South China, carrying 442 passengers.
An estimated 100,000 people are expected to leave Wuhan in the first 48 hours after lockdown.
Chinese state media says at least 10,000 air passengers have left via Wuhan’s airport, while 55,000 boarded trains out of the city’s three railway stations.
Motorways were also jam-packed as some thousands of cars queued at toll stations waiting for officials open expressways at the stroke of midnight.
The majority of departing residents are thought to be migrant workers returning to the Pearl River Delta, which includes major production hubs such as Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou.
However, some are fleeing the city over fears that a recent increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases may lead to a secondary outbreak – and another lengthy lockdown, reports say.
China’s National Health Commission confirmed 62 new coronavirus cases today, 59 of which are said to be imported.
Wuhan, where more than 80 percent of China’s 3,337 coronavirus-related deaths occurred, has reported just two new cases in the last two weeks.
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