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AP PHOTOS: As Wuhan reopens, people begin to venture outside

Some people couldn't wait to leave town. Others just wanted to get outside and feel free again. All of them wore face masks against the virus that had forced them to stay in their homes for more than two months.

Chinese authorities ended the lockdown of Wuhan on Wednesday, allowing people to move about and leave the city for the first time in 76 days.

Thousands boarded trains, planes and long-distance buses, finally able to return to their homes and jobs. Many had come to visit relatives during the Lunar New Year holiday in late January and were trapped when the coronavirus lockdown was announced with no advance warning.

Passengers wearing face masks to protect against the spread of new coronavirus pass through security checks at Hankou train station after of the resumption of train services in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Wednesday, April 8, 2020. After 11 weeks of lockdown, the first train departed Wednesday morning from a re-opened Wuhan, the origin point for the coronavirus pandemic, as residents once again were allowed to travel in and out of the sprawling central Chinese city. (AP PhotoNg Han Guan)

The outbreak started in Wuhan, an industrial city of 11 million people on the Yangtze River. Authorities cut off and shut down the city in a desperate bid to stop the disease from spreading. It still killed more than 2,500 people in Wuhan, by far the highest death toll in China, and grew into a pandemic.

Once the lockdown was lifted, drivers took to the roads and people went to parks and public plazas. Residents who wanted to enter a building or board a train were still checked to see if they were running a fever, though. The fear has subsided but not gone away.

Passengers wearing face masks and raincoats to protect against the spread of new coronavirus sit outside of Hankou train station after of the resumption of train services in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Wednesday, April 8, 2020. After 11 weeks of lockdown, the first train departed Wednesday morning from a re-opened Wuhan, the origin point for the coronavirus pandemic, as residents once again were allowed to travel in and out of the sprawling central Chinese city. (AP PhotoNg Han Guan)

Passengers wearing face masks and rain coats to protect against the spread of new coronavirus walk outside of Hankou train station after of the resumption of train services in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Wednesday, April 8, 2020. After 11 weeks of lockdown, the first train departed Wednesday morning from a re-opened Wuhan, the origin point for the coronavirus pandemic, as residents once again were allowed to travel in and out of the sprawling central Chinese city. (AP PhotoNg Han Guan)

A woman wearing a face mask to protect against the spread of coronavirus puts a poncho on a child at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Within hours of China lifting an 11-week lockdown on the central city of Wuhan early Wednesday, tens of thousands people had left the city by train and plane alone, according to local media reports. (AP PhotoNg Han Guan)

A woman walks her dog on the streets of Wuhan in central China's Hubei province on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Streets in the city of 11 million people were clogged with traffic and long lines formed at the airport, train and bus stations as thousands streamed out of the city to return to homes and jobs elsewhere. Yellow barriers that had blocked off some streets were gone, although the gates to residential compounds remained guarded. (AP PhotoNg Han Guan)

Residents eat on the streets of Wuhan in central China's Hubei province on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Streets in the city of 11 million people were clogged with traffic and long lines formed at the airport, train and bus stations as thousands streamed out of the city to return to homes and jobs elsewhere. Yellow barriers that had blocked off some streets were gone, although the gates to residential compounds remained guarded. (AP PhotoNg Han Guan)