China will lift lockdown on Wuhan, the epicenter of coronavirus outbreak, on April 8

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Cities struggle with social distancing

The mandatory lockdown in Wuhan, China — the city where the global coronavirus pandemic began — will be lifted starting on April 8, the government announced Tuesday. China barred people from leaving or entering Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, starting January 23 and expanded the order to most of the province in the days that followed. 

Traffic control measures are being officially lifted in Hubei, outside of Wuhan, starting Wednesday, March 25, according to the local government. However, anyone leaving the province will need a government-issued QR code as proof that they are healthy, South China Morning Post reports.

While Wuhan itself still has two weeks of lockdown to go, some local operations are beginning to get back to business. Two car factories in the city started their production lines again on Monday, according to South China Morning Post. 

Volunteers spray disinfectant with a robot at a residential area in Wuhan, in China’s central Hubei province, on March 3, 2020. 

AFP via Getty Images


Last week, the city of Wuhan reported no new cases of coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak started in late December. On March 19, China’s health ministry said results over a 24-hour period showed just 34 new cases in all of mainland China, and all of those cases were detected in people arriving from abroad, according to the health ministry.

Data compiled by Johns Hopkins show there have been over 81,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 3,280 coronavirus-related deaths in China. However, there are also more than 73,200 reported recoveries from the virus in the country, including more than 60,300 in hard-hit Hubei province.

Like China, many European countries have gone on lockdown to try to slow the rapid spread of the virus, including Italy, which has become a new epicenter of the pandemic. With a population of 60 million, Italy has about the same number of people as Hubei province.

On Saturday, Italy reported its deadliest day since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, recording 793 deaths in 24 hours. While Italy has had fewer total confirmed coronavirus cases than China, it has recorded nearly twice as many deaths, according Johns Hopkins.

So even though China’s plans to lift the lockdown on Wuhan appears to be a positive sign, it is not necessarily an indicator other communities can count on, since the timelines may vary  depending on how individual countries are dealing with the virus.

CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
Security guards patrol outside the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market where the coronavirus was detected in Wuhan on January 24, 2020.

HECTOR RETAMAL/Getty Images


Parts of the U.S. are under stay-at-home orders and the country has recorded more than 46,400 confirmed cases and at least 591 deaths as of Tuesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins. 

While President Trump said Monday his administration will reevaluate its “15 days to slow the spread” guidelines in hopes of getting the economy moving again as quickly as possible, health officials continue to stress the importance of social distancing and staying at home to prevent the coronavirus outbreak from overwhelming the health care system. 

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