Wuhan , Apr 8:
Tens of thousands of people in Wuhan, the origin point and epicentre for the coronavirus pandemic, began travelling out of the sprawling city on Wednesday as China lifted its 73-day lockdown, even as the number of fresh COVID-19 cases crossed 1,000 in the country and two new deaths heightened concerns of a rebound in infections.
The Chinese health authority said on Wednesday that 62 new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported on the Chinese mainland on Tuesday, including 59 cases of people returning from abroad, taking the total tally to 1,042.
Three new domestic cases were reported, including two in Shandong Province and one in Guangdong Province, the National Health Commission (NHC) said.
Also on Tuesday, 137 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were reported and 1,095 asymptomatic cases were still under medical observation, the NHC said.
Asymptomatic coronavirus cases are those who test positive for the virus but do not show any symptoms and have the potential to cause sporadic clusters of infections. The Wuhan lockdown was lifted even as epidemiologists warned that it is not the time to completely lower the guard and ease on full-scale restrictions, considering the looming asymptomatic patients and possible rebound in infections, the official media reported.
As the lockdown was lifted, tens of thousands of people from Wuhan began leaving the city on Wednesday. The government has lifted the ban on road, air and train travel for all the locals who have acquired health certificates.
Cars queued up at expressway toll gates and passengers prepared to board trains to leave Wuhan as the megacity started lifting outbound travel restrictions, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
At Fuhe toll gate in nothern Wuhan, cars honked and rushed out after barricades were removed at midnight.
Wuhan Tianhe International Airport started resuming domestic passenger flights early today. The airport is expected to see more than 200 inbound and outbound flights on the day, according to the airport.