Thousands left Wuhan for Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Tokyo

Thousands of people from Wuhan, the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, had flown to Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Japan before the mainland Chinese city was locked down last week, mainland media reported – although the five most popular destinations of those leaving Wuhan were in neighbouring Henan province.

Fears of a global pandemic were raised by the number of people leaving Wuhan in the 24 days between the first cases of infection being reported on December 30 and the decision to suspend travel out of the city on Thursday.

Wuhan mayor Zhou Xianwang said on Sunday that about 5 million residents – nearly half of the city’s 11 million population – had left before the lockdown began as part of the emergency measures to try to contain the spread of the virus.

The exodus was consistent with a 2018 survey that suggested 48 per cent of Wuhan’s population had left the city during the Lunar New Year.

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