Coronavirus outbreak: Is China still on lockdown? Are there still cases?
China was first to suffer at the hands of COVID-19, as it cropped up in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, in late 2019. The country went into lockdown in January to stem the virus’ growth, but cases leaked regardless, and now other countries face similar measures.
Is China still on lockdown?
China still has the most coronavirus cases, with a total of 81,056 and 3,261 deaths, but the infection rate has dramatically slowed.
The country has reported a steady drop in coronavirus infections over the last fortnight, with no new cases in Wuhan for the first time on Thursday, March 19.
In response, officials have relaxed some of China’s lockdown measures in Hubei province.
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Car checkpoints no are no longer in operation, and healthy residents can now roam freely.
One city, Honghu, has ended its lockdown altogether, and hospitals elsewhere are treating non-COVID-19 patients.
On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered officials of the Chinese Communist Party and government to reinstate previously suspended services in a bid to nurse the country’s damaged economy back to health.
The “urgent” order has prompted factories and previously closed workplaces to open again with haste, and life is slowly returning to normal.
There is still a long way to go for many people in Wuhan, as the city still bears wounds from COVID-19.
Speaking to The Guardian, Wuhan resident Iris Yao, 40, said the streets remain empty, and supplies difficult to find.
She told the publication the situation has improved but only after great sacrifices made by the people of her city.
Ms Yao said: “In terms of controlling the epidemic and requiring everyone to stay at home, that worked.”
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“But the beginning was a failure. The virus was able to spread because of what was not done.”
“The sacrifices Wuhanese people have had to make are huge.”
While China is gradually attempting to reclaim normality, it is not yet free of COVID-19.
The country is no longer seeing local cases, but imported infections are still cropping up.
Today, the National Health Commission reported a total of 46 new cases, 45 of which came from abroad.
Experts fear once China further relaxes its measures, cases will begin to spike once again.
Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist and Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Environmental Health told the Guardian China would have to remain “vigilant” as it eases back into normality.
She said: “It is likely that cases will rise once China eases its control measures.
“This means they will have to maintain vigilance for a surge of new cases and decide how to respond.”
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