CHINA is set to lift the two-month coronavirus lockdown for most of Hubei province at midnight amid hopes that the country has finally contained the disease.
Healthy citizens will be allowed to leave their homes across the region, once the epicentre of the pandemic, after the region reported a dramatic reduction in domestic cases of the virus.
China is set to lift the two-month coronavirus lockdown for most of Hubei province at midnightCredit: AFP or licensors A train station in Wuhan, once the epicentre of the outbreak, is disinfected with the lockdown of city set to be lifted on April 8Credit: AFP or licensors People in Hubei province have been under a strict lockdown for over two months, and healthy citizens will now be allowed to leave their homesCredit: AFP or licensors
However the city of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have started in the city’s wet markets, will remain locked down until April 8.
The news will provide hope for the rest of the world as countries on every continent struggle to contain the virus which has claimed over 16,500 lives worldwide and infected over 383,000.
In the last five days, China has reported no fresh cases of the coronavirus in Hubei, with all reported cases coming from those who contracted the disease abroad.
The city of Wuhan was placed under strict lockdown on January 23 with all flights and public transport cancelled.
Soon after, the rest of the province was locked down, causing havoc during the Lunar New Year when many Chinese travel.
For weeks, Wuhan was the worst hit city as hospitals struggled to cope with thousands of daily infections, forcing temporary hospitals to be built.
But China claims it has now managed to bring the outbreak under control after the largest lockdown in history prevented 60 million people in Hubei from leaving their homes and saw volunteers going door-to-door checking residents’ temperatures.
As of Monday, there were a total 67,801 cases and 3,160 fatalities in Hubei province alone, accounting for the majority of China’s cases.
LIFTING THE LOCKDOWN
Although the lockdown has been lifted across much of Hubei, strict disease control and prevention measures will still be needed to prevent a possible rebound, China Daily reported, citing epidemiologist Li Lanjuan.
Li, director of China’s State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, said: “If no new case of the coronavirus has been reported for 14 consecutive days in Wuhan following the last reported case, we believe it will be the time when the lockdown can be gradually lifted.
“We expect new cases will cease to appear in mid or late March.”
It is yet to be announced whether other regions of China will allow those leaving Hubei province to enter their jurisdictions, and quarantine is expected to remain in place for those venturing outside local areas.
IMPORTED CASES THREAT
Meanwhile, other major cities in China have ordered a strict 14-day quarantine for any travellers returning to the country as they aim to tackle the threat of imported cases.
China is also aiming to restart their economy which has stagnated due to the virus, with construction projects set to resume very soon.
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Elsewhere, the UK has just begun a three week lockdown following 6,650 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 335 deaths.
France, Italy and Spain also remain under a strict lockdown after cases continue to surge in all three countries.
The death toll in Italy has overtaken China, with over 6,000 deaths in the country.
China claims it has now managed to bring the outbreak under control after the largest lockdown in history prevented 60 million people leaving their homesCredit: AP:Associated Press President Xi Jinping waves to residents in quarantine during his visit to Wuhan earlier this monthCredit: AP:Associated Press