Exhausted but overjoyed, people cheered in the streets as the first shackles of the draconian lockdown were lifted. Following months of isolation, the province also resumed its first transport links with the rest of the country. Trains were allowed to leave parts of Hubei, but not to depart from Wuhan.
Chen Ting who, with her three-year-old son was among 40 people leaving a train in Hubei’s Xianning, said: “I booked my ticket this morning after hearing the news.”
Flights also began to leave the province, but several large airports remained closed.
Chinese TV showed images of cheering people as roadblocks came down, allowing them to drive out of the province.
But much of the rest of the world continued to battle the outbreak.
Spain yesterday overtook China for the number of coronavirus deaths, becoming the second worst-hit country behind Italy.
Spanish authorities said that its death toll had climbed to 3,434, China has recorded 3,287 deaths and Italy nearly 7,000.
Spain suffered 738 deaths in the previous 24 hours, its deadliest toll in any one day.
Its overall number of cases increased by 20 percent, from 39,673 to 47,610.
Authorities in the capital Madrid turned an ice rink at the Palacio de Hielo shopping centre into a temporary mortuary.
A field hospital has been set up in Madrid’s Ifema exhibition centre, making it the largest health centre in Spain.
Despite the national lockdown imposed on March 14 – now to be extended to April 11 – Spanish deaths and infections continue to mount.
Emergencies co-ordinator Fernando Simon said: “We are approaching the peak.”
Madrid has suffered the brunt of the epidemic with 14,597 infections and 1,825 deaths – 53 percent of the national figure.
France is braced for what a doctor called a “huge wave” of coronavirus cases which could “saturate Paris in days”.
There are now more than 400,000 cases of coronavirus in the world, with deaths approaching 20,000.
India has ordered its 1.3 billion citizens to stay inside and at least a quarter of the world’s population of 7.8 billion is now living under lockdown.
US President Donald Trump said he hoped America would shake off the pandemic by Easter but Andrew Cuomo, New York’s governor, warned the illness is spreading faster than “a bullet train”.
The US saw its deadliest day of the outbreak so far.
The overall death toll is at almost 800, and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said that Washington had asked his country to provide coronavirus testing kits.
Malaysia, the worst-hit country in south-east Asia, has extended its two-week lockdown and is planning another stimulus package to help the economy.
In Africa, Senegal and the Ivory Coast have declared states of emergency and Libya confirmed its first coronavirus case.
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