China begins lifting lockdown in virus-affected Hubei province
TORONTO -- For most of the 58 million people who haven’t been able to leave their homes in Hubei province, China for the last two months, there is light at the end of the lockdown tunnel.
Chinese authorities lifted the lockdown in place across most of the region Tuesday at midnight.
Wuhan, the city of 11 million people where the novel coronavirus was first detected in late December, will stay locked down until April 8.
State media is reporting that Hubei province has seen almost no new infections for more than a week, implying the outbreak is gradually being brought under control.
Government officials say people with a clean bill of health will be able to leave the province.
As sweeping lockdown measures are eased, life in Wuhan is slowly returning to some level of normalcy.
People are starting to leave their homes to shop for necessities or go to work.
Businesses have also begun restoring their normal, public-facing operations and services in Wuhan, as have dozens of hospitals.
It’s unclear if other Chinese cities and provinces will allow people leaving Hubei to enter their jurisdictions.
China started barring people from coming in or out of Wuhan on Jan. 23, and later expanded that protocol to most of the province.
Trains and flights were cancelled and officials set up roadside checkpoints.
The COVID-19 pandemic has infected more than 381,000 people around the world, and killed more than 16,500.
More than 101,000 have recovered from the virus, mostly in China.