China sealed off Wuhan, a central city of 11 million people, on Jan. 23, a drastic step that came to symbolise its aggressive management of the virus.
More than 50,000 people in Wuhan were infected, and more than 2,500 of them died, about 80% of all deaths in China, according to official figures.
The virus has since spread around the world infecting more than 1.4 million people, killing 82,000 of them and wreaking havoc on the global economy as governments imposed lockdowns to rein in its spread.
While China has managed to curb its coronavirus epidemic the measures to contain it have exacted a heavy economic and social toll, with many residents in recent days expressing relief as well as uncertainty and worry over lingering danger of infection.
“I’m going to see my parents,” Wang Wenshu told Reuters as she waited to check in at Wuhan’s Tianhe airport, which reopened on Wednesday.
“Of course I miss them. Stop asking me about it or I’m going to cry.”
Some travellers wore full protective suits, long raincoats or face shields.
Wuhan has slowly been returning towards normal, with people officially allowed to enter the city from March 28, although restrictions remain. Residents have been urged not to leave Wuhan or Hubei province, or even their neighbourhood, unless absolutely necessary.
Shopping malls and the city’s biggest shopping belt, the Chu River and Han street, reopened on March 30. Long queues, thanks to requirements that customers stand a metre apart, have formed at supermarkets while some residents have taken advantage of the warmer weather to resume their outdoor badminton games and dancing.
Wuhan has reported just three new confirmed infections in the past 21 days and only two in the past two weeks.