Authorities in Hubei province, China, have announced that they will ease travel restrictions in most parts of the region, bringing a two-month lockdown to an end. 

The coronavirus outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, in December last year. 

The Hubei Health Commission has said that outgoing travellers with health clearance will be able to leave from midnight on Tuesday. 

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However, Wuhan, which has been in total lockdown since 23 January, will maintain its travel restrictions until 8 April.

The announcement by officials in Hubei province came as other parts of China are set to heighten their restrictions, following an increase in the number of imported infections.​

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Of the 78 new cases confirmed by the Chinese National Health Commission on Monday, 74 of them were imported infections.

This marks a increase on the 39 imported infections reported on Sunday and brings the total number of infections brought from overseas to 427.  

Beijing has been particularly hard-hit by the new cases announced on Monday.  

The government said on Tuesday that everyone arriving from abroad will have to undergo quarantine and health checks. 

Shenzhen, a city in the south, also said it will test all arrivals, while the territory of Macau will stop visitors from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan from entering. 

There are fears that China may experience a second wave of coronavirus cases, as restrictions are lifted and people return to work to help the economy. 

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The state-run China Daily said in an editorial on Tuesday that keeping strict restrictions on people’s movements in place would “now do more harm than good”.

Coronavirus has killed more than 3,200 people in China and caused over 81,000 cases.

Agencies contributed to this report

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