Photos show thousands packing into cars, planes, and trains in a rush to get out of Wuhan as China lifts the coronavirus lockdown

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Pilot of flight MU2527 of China Eastern airlines gestures before takeoff at the Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 8, 2020.

Xinhua/Cheng Min via Getty Images

  • On Wednesday at midnight, Chinese authorities began allowing outbound travel from Wuhan, the city where the first coronavirus cases were reported last year. 
  • Throngs of people who can prove they are healthy are rushing out of the city by car, plane, and train. 
  • Travel from Wuhan was restricted for 76 days in an effort to keep the novel coronavirus outbreak contained. 
  • Wuhan, the initial epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, reported only three new cases in three weeks, according to official data. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

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China has ended its 76-day lockdown of Wuhan — the Chinese city where the first cases of the novel coronavirus were reported in late 2019 — sending people flooding out of the city en masse. 

Toward the end of January, China abruptly sealed off Wuhan to halt the coronavirus' spread to other regions of the country, implementing a lockdown order that has now become common in other parts of the world. 

At midnight on Wednesday morning, Chinese officials began allowing people to travel out of Wuhan — the initial epicenter of the novel coronavirus pandemic — for the first time in nearly 11 weeks. As the travel ban was lifted, people who had been stranded in the city and could prove they are healthy began pouring out of Wuhan by plane, train, and car. 

The loosening of restrictions comes after Wuhan reported only three new coronavirus cases in three weeks. On Tuesday, the day before the lockdown ended, China reported no new coronavirus-related deaths for the first time since January, according to government figures, which are disputed

See what Wuhan looks like as people are allowed to move freely out of the city for the first time in months:


The Chinese government just lifted the ban on outbound travel from Wuhan, the city where the first cases of the novel coronavirus were reported late last year.


Passengers wearing face masks wait at the Tianhe Airport after it was reopened today, in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on April 8, 2020.

HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images



At midnight on Wednesday morning, authorities in Wuhan began allowing people to travel out of the city…


Cars prepare to pass an expressway toll station in western Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 8, 2020.

Xinhua/Shen Bohan via Getty Images



...leading people to flood out of Wuhan.


Passengers of train G431 queue to enter the Wuhan Railway Station in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, April 8, 2020.

Xinhua/Shen Bohan via Getty Images



Whether it was by car…


Passengers wave before leaving Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in the early hours of April 8, 2020.

Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images



Plane…


Pilot of flight MU2527 of China Eastern airlines gestures before takeoff at the Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 8, 2020.

Xinhua/Cheng Min via Getty Images



Or by train.


A stewardess waves to passengers on train G431 before departure in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, April 8, 2020.

Xinhua/Shen Bohan via Getty Images



An estimated 55,000 people will catch trains out of the city on Wednesday, according to Chinese state media.


Passengers wait to pass the boarding gates at the Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Wednesday, April 08, 2020.

Source: The New York Times


The Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan was bustling with travelers and taxis.


Taxis line up for passengers outside the Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images



The first train leaving Wuhan's Hankou station was bound for the city of Jingzhou, which is about 150 miles away, according to The Wall Street Journal.


Aerial photo taken on April 7, 2020 shows bullet trains at a depot in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province.

Xiao Yijiu/Xinhua via Getty

Source: The Wall Street Journal


According to Chinese state media, the first train to leave Hubei province entirely was destined for Nanning in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which is roughly 750 miles southwest of Wuhan.


A train attendant wearing a mask on the g413 high-speed railway, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, April 8, 2020

Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images



Around 200 flights were scheduled to fly to and from Wuhan on Wednesday — roughly one-third the typical total — and at least 11,855 had bought tickets to fly out of Wuhan that day, an airport official told The Wall Street Journal.


Passengers board flight MU2527 of China Eastern airlines at the Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 8, 2020.

Xinhua/Cheng Min via Getty Images

Source: The Wall Street Journal


Healthcare workers from the Jilin province, who had traveled to Wuhan to aid in the response to the outbreak, were among the first to board flights out of the city.


Medical staffs from Jilin Province (in red) hug with those of Wuhan (in white) as they had been battling together to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic after Wuhan lockdown was lifted on departure at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport on April 8, 2020.

The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images



Cars lined up at the city's exit points…


Vehicles prepare to leave Wuhan City on the road, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in the early hours of April 8, 2020.

Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images



As police removed barricades...


Traffic police lift road blockade, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, early morning April 8, 2020.

Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images



Directed traffic...


Police release vehicles leaving Wuhan, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in the early hours of April 8, 2020.

Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images



And reopened long-closed tolls.


Traffic police lift road blockade, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, early morning April 8, 2020.

Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images



In anticipation of the travel ban being lifted, crews were sent to disinfect the airport...

airport disinfecting wuhan



...and trains.

disinfecting train wuhan



However, not just anyone can leave the city — travelers must prove that they are healthy first.


Passengers on the G413 high speed rail pass through the entrance, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, April 8, 2020.

Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images



That's done through a government-mandated phone app that analyzes a user's recent location data and medical history and tells authorities whether or not they pose an infection risk.


Passengers on the g413 high speed rail pass through the entrance, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, April 8, 2020.

Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Source: The New York Times

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Airline employees were also seen checking people's temperature as they attempted to leave the city.


A passenger receives body temperature check before boarding flight MU2527 of China Eastern airlines at the Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 8, 2020.

Xinhua/Cheng Min via Getty Images



The same happened at train stations as well.


A worker checks the temperature of a woman wearing a face mask as she arrives at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan, to board one of the first trains leaving the city in China's central Hubei province early on April 8, 2020.

Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images



The lockdown began abruptly on January 23 in an effort to seal off the rest of China from the novel coronavirus.


Passengers board flight MU2527 of China Eastern airlines at the Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 8, 2020.

Xinhua/Cheng Min via Getty Images



The travel ban lasted 76 days, leaving thousands stranded within and outside the city, desperate to get back home.


Travelers walk to the exit of the Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Wednesday,

Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Source: South China Morning Post


According to official figures, more than 80,000 cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in China.


Train K81 pulls off Wuchang Railway Station in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 8, 2020.

Xinhua/Fei Maohua via Getty Images



The majority of those cases occurred in the city of Wuhan or the surrounding Hubei province.


Vehicles prepare to leave Wuhan City on the road, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in the early hours of April 8, 2020.

Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


But over the last three weeks, only three new coronavirus cases were officially reported in Wuhan, signaling a light at the end of the tunnel for the city that was the initial epicenter of the now-global pandemic.


The railway police are on duty in the waiting room on April 7, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Getty Images



On Tuesday, a day before authorities loosened travel restrictions, China reported its first day without new coronavirus deaths since January.


Passengers pass the boarding gates at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Source: The Guardian


Though travel has resumed and businesses have begun to reopen in Wuhan, the city's schools remain closed, people are still sheltering at home, and the crisis is far from over.


Passengers wave before leaving Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in the early hours of April 8, 2020.

Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Source: New York Times

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