China's Hubei To Begin To Lift Its Coronavirus Lockdown Tonight After Two Months
Chinese authorities have confirmed that the Hubei lockdown will begin to lift at midnight tonight, following two months of isolation across the province.
However, little to no domestic cases were reported over the last two days, and travel bans are now set to be eased everywhere in the province, except for Wuhan.
The Hubei provincial government made the announcement on Tuesday, stating that "outbound traffic would be restored in an orderly manner".
This will mean that people will finally be able to travel to other places within and outside Hubei province.
The 11m inhabitants of Wuhan, where the virus is thought to have originated in a whet market, will remain under the control orders until April 8th. The city has been on lockdown since January 23rd.
The relaxing of travel orders comes after other lockdown restrictions have also been eased across China in recent days.
The government says that now, work has restarted on about 90 per cent of the major public construction projects across the country.
Plus, on Monday, it was announced that small groups of Wuhan residents were allowed to leave their compounds in order to go to shopping or on a walk.
The weekend saw more than 1,000 workers from elsewhere in the province return to the city to work, too.
While this is a huge step, and a glimmer of hope for the whole world, life is far from back to normal for people in China.
Residents will still need to be given a 'Green Code' to travel - which is essentially a health classification handed to them via the AliPay monitoring app, which proves they're coronavirus free.
And furthermore, the travel is only intended so that migrant workers can travel from point-to-point - it's still not for social outings.
Experts warn that Hubei, like the rest of China, will have to step carefully in order to ensure there isn't a second wave of the virus.
Despite the lack of new domestic infections, China still had 78 new cases on Monday, the vast majority of which were said to be imported from overseas.
In a bid to tackle this, Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities have introduced mandatory 14-day quarantines for everyone returning from abroad, predominantly forcing people to pay their own way in hotels and other government-designated locations.
Those living alone are among a few exceptions to this rule, and they have been instructed to quarantine in their homes.
A Chinese medical officer told the Financial Times: "We shouldn't let down our guard . . . if not managed properly the situation could fluctuate".
With the UK and India the latest in a long string of countries to impose lockdown-style restrictions to stop the virus spreading too fast, the world is going to be watching China very closely to see what move to make next.
Here's hoping that for them it's uphill from here.