Wuhan Passengers and scrutinized home in full combination: the chinese city of Wuhan, the birthplace of the novel coronavirus, has gradually reopened to the outside world Saturday after more than two months of isolation almost completely.
Very symbolically, the first passenger train which has been authorised for the containment, was arrested shortly after midnight at the Wuhan train station. The image has made the rounds of local media.
On board, dozens of local residents trapped since the end of January, outside of the city when the authorities have declared a quarantine to try to halt the epidemic.
“With my daughter, we were all excited when the train approached,” Wuhan, smiled a 36 year old woman who did not wish to give his name.
The fact of the closure, it was ten weeks she had not seen her husband. An eternity for her daughter.
In the light, “she rushed to her father, I have not been able to prevent me from crying”, says the young woman to the AFP.
Until then, no one could enter the city, with the exception of medical personnel and of the persons responsible to ship goods of first necessity. But since Wednesday, the authorities lift gradually the restrictions.
The reopening, however, is only partial. The residents will have to wait until 8 April to be able to leave Wuhan, the date will re-open also the airports of the city.
And in the other direction, the new arrivals are scrutinized: the taking of temperature, control of identity and questions about their previous travel.
They are also required to present on their phone with a QR code that serves as the pass and that attests that they are “healthy”.
These formalities will be carried out in front of the staff wearing masks, goggles and suits.
The first case of coronavirus emerged in December in Wuhan. And the city pays a heavy toll for this epidemic, with more than 50 000 people infected and more deaths than any other city in China (2538).
On Saturday, three people dead have been announced by the health authorities.
But the numbers have fallen dramatically in recent weeks.
On Friday, a local official said that Wuhan was now seen as an area of “low risk”.
This contrasts with the end of January, when, at the height of the epidemic, AFP reporters saw long queues of patients in front of hospitals overwhelmed.
“It’s been more than two months that I am not returned to Wuhan, I feel I’ve come back from abroad,” says Gao Xuesong, used in the automotive sector.
In spite of these constraints, long queues of travellers waiting to embark to Wuhan, found the AFP to the Shanghai train station at about 830 km.
The return to normal, however, is progressive.
If the subway of Wuhan has re-opened its doors Saturday, and the main bus routes are back in service, some shopping centers are closed. And the inhabitants, always protected by masks, avoid the places too crowded.
The authorities have also warned against unnecessary travel, which can promote the spread of the virus.