WUHAN, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Central China's Hubei Province, hit hard by the novel coronavirus outbreak, has started sending out workers after new infections petered out in most of its cities.
The cities of Jingzhou, Huanggang, Xianning and Qianjiang have arranged chartered vehicles to send out thousands of migrant workers at a time when factories across China are rushing to resume work amid a labor crunch.
On Sunday, 49 chartered vehicles carrying 1,445 workers departed from Huanggang, which has reported no new infections for 13 days.
The city, among the hardest hit by the virus due to its proximity to the epidemic epicenter Wuhan, has recorded a total of 2,907 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Local officials said 750,000 migrant workers who returned home for the Spring Festival holiday have been stranded in Huanggang since travel restrictions were imposed to minimize infection risks.
The city government has contacted companies in the provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu to receive local workers and sent police officers and medics to escort the chartered vehicles.
Yang Qiuli, a local resident who works in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen, said the chartered buses came at a critical time.
"I've been burning with anxiety since the end of the holiday as I couldn't return to work. I might have lost my job if the journey was further delayed," she said.