Trains carrying factory employees back to work after two months in locked-down cities rolled out of Hubei province, the center of China’s coronavirus outbreak, as the government on Wednesday began lifting the last of the controls that confined tens of millions of people to their homes.
Roadblocks on bridges and at expressway gates opened, allowing trucks and cars through for the first time in two months.
Residents of Wuhan, the provincial capital where the coronavirus emerged in December, are allowed out of the city but cannot leave Hubei until April 8. Restrictions that barred tens of millions of people from leaving other cities in Hubei since late February as China fought to contain the outbreak were lifted Wednesday.
As the United States and European countries tighten their own controls, China’s ruling Communist Party is relaxing restrictions to revive the economy after declaring victory over the outbreak.
Still, authorities have orders to prevent a spike in infections as millions of people return to work in Hubei or migrate to other provinces. Travelers were checked for the virus’s telltale fever and are required to use smartphone apps that keep track of their health reports and whether they have been to risky areas.
A train left the previously locked-down city of Huanggang on Tuesday night carrying 1,133 factory workers back to jobs in Guangdong province, the center of China’s export-driven manufacturing industries in the southeast, according to People’s Daily, the main Communist Party newspaper.
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