Wuhan, the Chinese city where the Covid-19 epidemic first broke out, ended a two-month lockdown today, according to state-run agency Xinhua News Agency.
The metropolis of 11 million was brought to a halt when its borders were closed in late January in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The disease infected over 50,000 people and killed 2,572 in the city, accounting for over half of the national total.
According to Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, China has over 80,000 coronavirus cases.
Wuhan Tianhe International Airport started resuming domestic passenger flights early Wednesday. The airport is expected to see more than 200 inbound and outbound flights on Wednesday, according to the airport.
As Wuhan opens its borders after 76 days, around 55,000 people are expected to leave the city by train on Wednesday. A total of 276 passenger trains will leave Wuhan for Shanghai, Shenzhen and other cities.
The lifting of travel restrictions comes as Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, reported just three new confirmed infections in the past 21 days and only two new infections in the past fortnight, according to Reuters. China has also reported almost no new local infections in recent weeks.
However, the number of cases in mainland China has increased over the past few days because of a surge in imported cases.
China’s National Health Commission reported 62 new cases on April 7. New imported infections accounted for 59 of the cases.
A day earlier, the Chinese health authority reported 137 new asymptomatic cases, including 102 imported cases.
In an effort to stop the spread of the virus through imported cases, China has cut the number of international flights and denied entry to most foreigners.
Last month, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced a travel ban on all foreign nationals, including those holding a work visa or residence permit.
Chinese airlines are now only allowed to maintain one route to any specific country with no more than one flight per week each, while foreign airlines are only allowed to maintain one route to China with no more than one weekly flight, according to The Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC).