News Article

Travel Ban Lifted in Wuhan

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 04/27/2020 - 13:20

After a strict 76-day lockdown, Wuhan citizens are allowed to travel again. Through technology, people can get authorized to travel by using a healthcare app to prove they are healthy enough to leave the city. This app is powered by data-tracking and government surveillance that helps to prove that the person has not been in direct contact with a person with COVID-19.

Thousands of people have been registered to leave the city where the pandemic emerged. The decision to lift the travel ban was made after reporting low new positive cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths related to the virus.

Just by train, it was expected that around 55,000 people would leave the city. Thousands of people found their way out of Wuhan’s isolation and strict lockdown after months of no exterior contact. About 200 flights were scheduled to fly in and out of Wuhan and according to the WSJ, 11,855 plane tickets were sold to fly out in the very first day after the travel ban ended. Medical staff were the first ones to head back to their provinces after being confined in Wuhan to support people during the crisis.

The flow of people has been reported to be massive by many media, but there are still restrictions and precautions to take. The use of facemasks, temperature checks and limited access to residential communities persist and disinfection of common spaces continues, as well as the lockdown for many. Shops and malls have also reopened and medical supply factories are allowed to restart activities. The supply chain industry will also start working.

A report made by Science Magazine studied travel restrictions on relation to the transmissibility of the virus and found that even though efforts of containing the virus in China started to gain severity, when travel restrictions began back in January 23, the then epidemic had already spread to other cities in China and that these actions only delayed the spread by two weeks. The 90 percent reduction of travel traffic had a “modest” effect as it was not effectively paired with healthcare actions that would have been more effective to reduce the contagion.

Wuhan is a major industry center and its return to somewhat normal activities is good for the economy. With many production plants reopening and the travel industry coming back to life, the damage to workers can start to reduce. This is the beginning of a historic comeback as Wuhan had the strictest measures to contain the virus from spreading as they were the original epicenter.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst