China officially ends 10-week coronavirus lockdown in Wuhan
China has ended its more than 10-week-long lockdown of Wuhan — the city where the coronavirus is believed to have originated, and spread to 184 countries across the globe.
As of Wednesday local time, the city’s 11 million residents are permitted to leave if they present a government-sanctioned phone app confirming they are healthy and have not recently been in contact with any infected individuals.
The city celebrated the occasion with a light show on either side of the Yangtze river, with skyscrapers and bridges displaying animated images of health workers treating patients.
One displayed the words “heroic city,” the title bestowed on Wuhan by Chinese president Xi Jinping.
Residents waved flags along embankments and bridges, sang China’s national anthem and chanted “Wuhan, let’s go!”
“I haven’t been outside for more than 70 days,” emotional resident Tong Zhengkun, who watched the display from a bridge told the AP. “Being indoors for so long drove me crazy.”
More than 55,000 people are expected to take trains out of Wuhan by day’s end, China’s national rail operator said, according to a state-run broadcaster.
Broadcasters have also published footage of a rush of cars traveling through toll stations on the outskirts of the city immediately after the lockdown was lifted.
But an editorial in People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist, warned residents not to throw caution to the wind.
“This day that people have long been looking forward to and it is right to be excited. However, this day does not mark the final victory,” the paper said.
“At this moment, we still need to remind ourselves that as Wuhan is unblocked, we can be pleased, but we must not relax.”
A total of 82,718 coronavirus cases have been reported in China, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Asymptomatic cases were not included until this month in the country’s tally of confirmed infections.