Thousands leave China's pandemic epicentre as 11-week lockdown lifts

covid19

Within hours of China lifting an 11-week lockdown on the central city of Wuhan early Wednesday, roughly 65,000 people had left the city by train and plane alone, according to local media reports.

Highways, bridges and tunnels were also opened, allowing thousands of more to exit by car and bus, as long as they were able to show a mandatory smartphone application powered by a mix of data-tracking and government surveillance shows they are healthy and have not been in recent contact with anyone confirmed to have COVID-19.

Despite the new freedom, many prevention measures remain in force in the city and those leaving Wuhan -- the epicenter of the global pandemic -- face numerous hurdles when arriving at their destinations elsewhere.

That includes being required to undergo 14-day quarantines and submit to nucleic acid tests.

China on Wednesday reported 62 new virus cases, 59 of them brought from outside the country, and two additional deaths.

The country where the virus first emerged now has recorded 3,333 deaths and 81,802 total cases, with 1,190 people remaining in treatment, 189 in serious condition.

Another 83 suspected cases and 1,095 people who have tested positive but show no symptoms remain under isolation and monitoring.