RESIDENTS across central China where the dreaded coronavirus first broke have been allowed to go back to work and public transport is restarting across the area as some sort of normality slowly returns after a two-month lockdown.
Coronavirus, which emerged in a market that sold wild animals in December, sparked a dramatic lockdown of the city of Wuhan on January 23. As the virus continued to spread, however, the lockdown was then widened to the rest of the province of nearly 60m people and from there, the restrictions get extended across China.
Today, the easing of restrictions in Wuhan city comes as Chinese health officials reported no new local cases of the deadly virus but confirmed another 39 infections brought from overseas. Local officials Wuhan residents considered healthy can move around the city and take the bus or metro so long as they show identity.
They can also go back to work if they have a permit from their employer and leave the city for other parts of the surrounding Hubei province after being tested for the virus and receiving a health certificate. Across the province, the number of persons infected has slowed dramatically and for five straight days, there have been no new cases in Hubei.
However, another nine people died in Wuhan, according to the National Health Commission. As the rate of infection slows in China, the rest of the world has stepped up measures to try and battle the raging pandemic.
China is anxious about an influx of infections brought in from other countries, with the number of imported cases climbing steadily in recent weeks to pass 350. Of the 39 new cases reported today, 10 were in Shanghai and 10 were in Beijing.
Authorities have said all Beijing-bound international flights will be diverted to other cities where they will be screened for the virus to help make the process more efficient. Those who get the all-clear will be allowed to continue to Beijing where they will still be sent to quarantine facilities.
There have now been over 81,000 cases in China, and the death toll has reached 3,270. However, Italy has now taken over as the epicentre of the virus, with over 6,000 deaths reported in the country.