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Coronavirus started in Wuhan; its airport finally reopened after 11 weeks

April 08, 2020
5 min read
Coronavirus started in Wuhan; its airport finally reopened after 11 weeks
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After 76 days of lockdown, Wuhan Tianhe International Airport has officially reopened. As of Wednesday morning local time, the airport has resumed commercial operations following the city's lockdown as the origin of the novel coronavirus.

Wuhan Airport (WUH), located in central China's Hubei province, has been closed since Jan. 23, to contain the spread of the coronavirus. As of Wednesday morning, however, operations have resumed. Xiamen Airlines Flight 8095 was the first commercial aircraft to arrive at WUH since the airport reopened. The Boeing 737-800 (B-5707) landed at WUH from Hangzhou (HGH) at 7:19 a.m. local time (7:19 p.m. Tuesday EST).

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The aircraft was greeted by a water cannon salute upon arrival.

It wasn't immediately clear how many passengers were on board the aircraft, however, according to data from ExpertFlyer, which is owned by TPG's parent company Red Ventures, the aircraft was nearly half empty. It's unclear if seats were blocked out by the airline for social distancing measures.

According to FlightRadar24, the first departure from the airport was a China Eastern Boeing 737 flying to Sanya (SYX) as MU2527. The flight departed at 7:25 a.m. local time (7:25 p.m. Tuesday EST) and arrived in Sanya at 9:46 a.m. local time (9:46 p.m. Tuesday EST).

(Image courtesy of FlightRadar24)
(Image courtesy of FlightRadar24)

At time of publication, there are a number of aircraft flying to and from Wuhan. According to data from FlightRadar24, there are 15 passenger aircraft airborne flying to or from WUH at time of writing.

A China Southern check-in agent confirmed to Bloomberg that the Guangzhou-based airline plans to operate 28 flights out of Wuhan on Wednesday. Some of the flights were reported to be 90% full, according to the agent.

There was reportedly a crowd outside the airport on Wednesday morning as those who were previously trapped in Wuhan fled to the airport to get home. While a number of medical professionals have been permitted to leave, for non-medical workers, individuals can only leave if they have a "green code," based on their travel history, health information and close contacts.

The city of Wuhan, with a population of around 11 million, has entered its post-coronavirus phase. As of Wednesday, the city's airport and train stations have reopened, allowing eligible medical workers and individuals to move freely. According to state broadcaster CCTV, some 55,000 people will leave Wuhan on Wednesday.

WUHAN, April 3, 2020 -- Firefighters prepare to conduct disinfection at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 3, 2020. Wuhan, the Chinese city hardest hit by the novel coronavirus outbreak, conducted disinfection Friday on the local airport as operations will soon resume on April 8 when the city lifts its travel restrictions. Wuhan Tianhe International Airport invited a team of 161 professionals to disinfect an area of around 570,000 square meters in Terminal 3 of the airport, said Ye Tao, head of terminal management at the airport. The team disinfected main facilities such as benches, elevators and trolleys in the terminal. (Photo by Cheng Min/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Cheng Min via Getty Images)
WUHAN, April 3, 2020 -- Firefighters prepare to conduct disinfection at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 3, 2020. (Photo by Cheng Min/Xinhua via Getty)

Hubei province and the lockdown measures throughout China have reportedly curbed the coronavirus spread in the country. According to Chinese officials, there have been no new deaths from coronavirus for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak, and just two new infections have been reported in the past 14 days in Wuhan.

Wednesday's lifting of the Wuhan lockdown comes amid news of the coronavirus at its peak or near-peak in other parts of the world. Airports around the world have been forced to drastically reduce — or even suspend — operations as the demand for air travel has dropped significantly and governments have issued restrictive measures.

Featured image by AFP via Getty Images

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

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  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases