On Wednesday a two-month lockdown was concluded in China, where the coronavirus outbreak first broke out, Wuhan, but the northern town began limiting the movement of its residents, because of a second wave of infections in mainland China.
In late January, China sealed the virus off Wuhan, a town of 11 million residents. Over 50,000 people in Wuhan caught the virus, and more than 2,500 of them died, about 80 per cent of all deaths in China, according to official figures.
But even as people leave the city, new imported cases in the northern province of Heilongjiang surged to a daily high of 25, fuelled by a continued influx of infected travellers arriving from Russia, which shares a land border with the province.
Suifenhe City in Heilongjiang restricted the movement of its citizens on Wednesday in a similar fashion to that of Wuhan.
Around 55,000 people are expected to leave Wuhan by train on Wednesday. More than 10,000 travellers have left the city by plane so far as flights resume at Wuhan Tianhe airport.
Flights to Beijing and international locations have not been restored.
“I’m very happy, I’m going home today,” migrant worker Liu Xiaomin told Reuters as she stood with her suitcases inside Wuhan’s Hankou railway station, bound for Xiangyang city.
Wuhan residents have also been urged not to leave their neighbourhood, their city and even the province unless absolutely necessary.
People from Wuhan arriving in the Chinese capital Beijing will have to undergo two rounds of testing for the virus.
Mainland China’s new coronavirus cases doubled in 24 hours as the number of infected overseas travellers surged, and new asymptomatic infections more than quadrupled.
New confirmed cases rose to 62 on Tuesday from 32 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said, the highest since March 25. New imported infections accounted for 59 of the cases.
The number of new asymptomatic cases rose to 137 from 30 a day earlier, the health authority said on Wednesday, with incoming travellers accounting for 102 of the latest batch.
Chinese authorities do not count asymptomatic cases as part of its tally of confirmed coronavirus infections until patients show symptoms such as a fever or a cough.
As of Tuesday, 1,095 asymptomatic patients were under medical observation in China, with 358 of them travellers arriving from abroad.
As of Tuesday, the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China stood at 81,802, including 3,333 fatalities, the National Health Commission said.