Wuhan lifts outbound travel restrictions

City where coronavirus pandemic began loosens containment measures

by Nadeem Xu
Wuhan lifts outbound travel restrictions
Medical staff from Jilin Province (in red) hug nurses from Wuhan after working together during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak during a ceremony before leaving as Tianhe Airport is reopened in Wuhan. Thousands of Chinese travellers rushed to leave COVID-19 coronavirus-ravaged Wuhan on April 8 as authorities lifted a more than two-month prohibition on outbound travel from the city where the global pandemic first emerged. Hector RETAMAL / AFP

(ATF) – Wuhan, the central Chinese megacity that saw the first coronavirus cases, started lifting outbound travel restrictions on Wednesday after a 76-day lockdown to stem the scourge’s spread.

Data from Wuhan traffic police predicted the expressways would see the peak of outbound vehicles in the afternoon.

As more enterprises resume their operations, Wuhan has seen an increase of nearly 400,000 vehicles in transit in the past two weeks, and the number is expected to reach 1.8 million later in the week, according to the city's traffic police.

At Wuchang Railway Station, a total of 442 passengers jumped on the K81 train early in the morning, headed south for Guangzhou.

More than 55,000 passengers are expected to leave Wuhan by train on the first day of travel, about 40% of them bound for the Pearl River Delta Region, southern China’s industrial heartland. A total of 276 passenger trains will leave Wuhan for Shanghai, Shenzhen and other cities.

Wuhan Tianhe International Airport also resumed domestic passenger flights, with more than 200 inbound and outbound movements scheduled.

Wuhan declared unprecedented traffic restrictions on January 23, including suspending the city's public transport and all outbound flights and trains, in an attempt to contain the epidemic.