Wuhan, Hubei to lift lockdown, signaling China’s win over COVID-19

By GT staff reporters Source: Published: 2020/3/24 13:51:42

 File photo: Xinhua

Cities outside Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, where the first confirmed coronavirus case was reported in the country, are scheduled to lift the outbound traffic control measures on Wednesday, and Wuhan will lift its lockdown on April 8, allowing local people to travel outside the province, given the visible progress in combating the coronavirus battle. 

Lifting the lockdown is also seen as a major sign that the country has scored a victory in this battle, medical experts and observers said.

It has been over two months since Wuhan, a city with about 11 million population which was hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, was completely locked down, part of China's decisive and aggressive measures to fight the deadly novel coronavirus. 

The National Health Commission said no new confirmed cases have been reported in Hubei from Wednesday to Sunday, and the World Health Organization said Wuhan's recovery from the  COVID-19 pandemic gives the rest of the world hope as the highly contagious disease has spread to 168 countries and regions as of Tuesday, data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Medicine said. 

However, on Tuesday, news that a doctor in Wuhan had become the latest case exposed to the risks of the coronavirus infection in local hospital outpatient services. 

The doctor works at the Hubei Provincial People's Hospital and may have been infected while working there, the Wuhan Health Commission said on Tuesday. 

When asked if it is proper time to loosen traffic controls as the new infection case emerged in Wuhan, Yang Zhanqiu, a virologist at Wuhan University, said that individual infections will not make a big difference. He said it is abnormal to see no new infections at all at this stage.

Given the visible progress in the domestic battlefield, China has now shifted its focus to prevent both a relapse of domestic cases and an increase in imported cases in COVID-19 prevention work, according to a meeting held by the central government's leading group for steering COVID-19 prevention on Monday.

The group warned that while domestic COVID-19 transmission has been controlled in China, risks of sporadic and regional cluster infections still exist. The local government should report daily new infections in a transparent way, and that concealment or lies about the numbers is strictly forbidden, it said.

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