China to Loosen Lockdown Restrictions on Coronavirus Epicenter

By Barnaby Lofton, March 25, 2020

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It’s been around two months since the city of Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province were put on lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

Fortunately for Hubei residents, things are slowly returning to normalcy as provincial officials announced the end of some lockdown measures starting Wednesday, March 25. 

According to a post on Hubei province’s official website, authorities have lifted restrictions on outbound travel for all cities, except Wuhan, starting Wednesday. The capital city is slated to lift outbound travel restrictions starting April 8, according to Xinhua.

Wuhan’s public transit is also gradually coming back to life with 117 bus routes – about 30% of Wuhan’s total bus transport capacity – resuming on Wednesday, according to the city’s transport bureau. 

To guard against imported COVID-19 cases, Ying Yong, the secretary of Hubei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, said all personnel returning to Wuhan would undergo timely quarantine and epidemiological surveys, as cited by Xinhua.

Provincial health officials are still on high alert and encouraging residents to use safety and caution when venturing outside, as a steady flow of imported COVID-19 cases have been reported in China from travelers abroad.

Premier Li Keqiang urged officials in local government to not cover up new cases of the disease. During a government meeting on Monday, Li emphasized that “public transparency is reporting a case when it’s discovered, it is what it is, and [one] must not conceal or hide the report,” as cited by a post on the State Council’s official website.

Some concerns have been raised about asymptomatic cases, with one man in Hubei recently testing negative, then positive and then negative again within a one-week period. According to South China Morning Post, the National Health Commission (NHC) does not classify asymptomatic carriers as confirmed cases, and will only report to the public when patients show COVID-19 symptoms.

As of midnight on March 24, there are 81,218 cumulative coronavirus cases on the Chinese mainland with 73,650 patients recovered and 3,281 total deaths. Forty-seven newly confirmed cases and four deaths were reported by the NHC on Wednesday.

[Cover image via Pixabay]

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