Workers disinfect a subway car in Wuhan, as authorities prepare to gradually resume public transportation and business activity in the city. Photo via Xinhua.
Despite continuing reports of locally transmitted COVID-19 cases that are not reflected in official numbers, China is officially loosening its lockdown on Hubei Province on March 25. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Hubei authorities will end restrictions on outbound traffic starting Wednesday, with the exception of its capital city of Wuhan, which will block departures for two more weeks, according to a provincial government notice issued Tuesday [in Chinese].
Even so, only people deemed free from contagion risk will be allowed to leave. Those leaving Hubei must possess a “green code” issued by provincial authorities to certify their health status, the notice said.
Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, will end its controls on outbound traffic starting April 8, according to the notice, and those departing must also possess the green code attesting to their health.
Wuhan was initially locked down on January 23, right before the Lunar New Year, and lockdowns across Hubei Province quickly followed. Ahead of the travel restrictions lifting, Wuhan is gradually loosening lockdowns on officially virus-free neighborhoods and preparing to resume public transportation, the Guardian reported. The city is also getting back to work:
- “As of March 23, 729 companies have got work resumption approvals, and 247 of them have started production,” says a China Daily article on Wuhan’s automotive industry.
- The city’s service industry remains more restricted, however, judging by this Xinhua report.
China is “still at risk from sporadic infections as well as those from overseas,” a spokesman with the National Health Commission told the media, including Reuters. “Prevention and control work could still not be relaxed,” the spokesperson added.
Macau “will ban entry from Wednesday for visitors from mainland China, neighbouring Hong Kong and Taiwan who have traveled overseas in the previous 14 days,” per Reuters. Shenzhen is starting to require all arrivals “at its ports of entry” to be tested for COVID-19, also per Reuters.
One section of the Great Wall has reopened to visitors, after a nearly two-month closure, CNN reports: Badaling will permit up to 30% of its usual number of visitors, provided they book their tickets in advance, show a “green” Health QR code, have their temperature checked, wear face masks, and “stay at least one meter away from each other at all times.”