People use freedom in coronavirus epicentre Wuhan to queue at cemeteries as travel restrictions ease

  • Video report by ITV News Asia Correspondent Debi Edward

The first thing hundreds of people did in Wuhan, as travel restrictions eased in the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, was to queue at cemeteries to arrange funerals for their loved ones.

The two-month lockdown in Wuhan will be partially lifted on April 8, but people in the provincial capital of Hubei can now move around, but not leave.

Queues formed outside supermarkets in the city and tragically, outside cemeteries.

Thousands of families are finally getting the chance to collect the remains of their relatives.

The lockdown in Wuhan will be partially lifted from April 8. Credit: ITV News

Ding Ding lost his mother in Wuhan at the end of February, but authorities have told him he must find a burial site by Friday, and inter her ashes by next Thursday.

"We need to make an appointment to get a space at cemetery and then get the ashes, there are too many people waiting,” he told ITV News.

“I am not ready, it came all of a sudden, we were planning to have a family funeral, but we've been told to handle this as quickly as possible."

He said people were queuing outside the cemetery for four to five hours.

Construction workers are among the first to go back to work in Wuhan, as China needs to kickstart its economy.

Transport networks are beginning to get people on the move.

The latest figures from China reveal a total of 3,293 deaths and almost 82,000 confirmed cases.

But the majority of new coronavirus cases are people bringing it into the country from abroad, so the Government has issued an order banning entry to all foreign visitors, even those with a valid visa.

  • Debi Edward, ITV Asia Correspondent, says on the surface it looks like life has returned to normal, but people in China are preparing for this to be an enduring epidemic

Only diplomats and officials are exempt from these latest extreme measures.

On the surface life looks to have returned to normal in China, traffic jams are back and more people are out on the street.

But masks are still being worn in public and there on restrictions on everyone entering or leaving the capital and even travelling to other parts of the country can result in two weeks quarantine.

People here are prepared for this to be an enduring epidemic.