China's seventh-largest city Wuhan which has a population of over 11 million is currently under complete lock-down it emerged as the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 4,500 and claimed 106 lives.
The first case was reported on December 31. After a large number of cases were being reported in China and abroad, complete travel restrictions were placed in Wuhan, with air and road transport suspended and advisories issued against public assembly.
5 million persons travelled out of Wuhan: Mayor confirms
In a press conference, Wuhan's mayor Zhou Xianwang confirmed that five million people had travelled out of Wuhan, before January 23, when large-scale travel restrictions were placed on the city, South China Morning Post reported.
Why did people travel out of Wuhan in such large numbers?
One of the reasons is to avert being infected by the deadly novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has caused havoc in the city, since December.
Another reason is China's annual Lunar New Year Holiday, from January 24-30, in which millions of Chinese travel both domestically and abroad. For many workers, it's the only time when they get to go home, explaining the desperation to travel in the face of an impending quarantine.
Taking into account the mounting cases, the government has extended the holidays till February 2. Almost all the cases confirmed outside Wuhan are of persons who had recently arrived from Wuhan or had come in direct contact with them.
As on Tuesday, 106 persons have lost their lives and over 4,500 cases have been confirmed by China. About 50 cases have been reported outside China, with cases being reported as far away in North America, Australia and Europe. Germany, Sri Lanka and Cambodia are the latest countries to confirm coronavirus infection.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illness, ranging from the common cold to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Not much information is available about the virus's strain reported in Wuhan, termed as novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), but it is from the same family as the deadly SARS pathogen, that infected about 8,000 people in over 37 countries and claimed about 80 lives in 2002-0.
It was recently confirmed that 2019-nCoV can be travel through human-to-human contact.