The Chinese authorities have lifted the blockade imposed months ago in Hubei province, the center of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 18,000 people worldwide since December.
No case of domestic transmission was recorded until midnight on Tuesday in mainland China, but 47 new “imported” cases – according to Chinese authorities – were reported around the clock, according to the health ministry.
A total of 474 “imported” cases have been identified. It is the overwhelming majority of cases of Chinese returning home after being infected abroad, according to the foreign ministry.
Four new deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours, three in Hubei, the province of central China whose capital is the city of Ohan, where SARS-CoV-2 was first identified.
In total, the number of people infected with coronavirus in China is over 81,200, while 3,281 people have succumbed to COVID-19. The number of new cases has dropped dramatically in the last month.
Beijing announced on Tuesday (24/3) that the blockade of more than 50 million residents in Hubei province, which has been in effect since January, is being lifted: they are now allowed to move, provided they are healthy. Some airports and some train stations are reopening. However, schools remain closed at this stage.
In Ohan, however, residents have to wait until April 8 to be allowed to leave the city.
The development of the situation is diametrically opposed to the picture in the rest of the world, where the coronavirus pandemic is in a rapidly spreading phase, forcing more and more governments to take restrictive measures, to ban traffic, to close public places. More than 400,000 cases have been confirmed in 175 countries and regions.
In China, the second concern is the possible second wave of contamination due to “imported” cases. Thus, many Chinese cities have implemented stringent measures, in particular the imposition of quarantine on travelers arriving from abroad.
All overseas flights to Beijing have been decided to divert to airports in other cities, where all their passengers are tested.