The Chinese government has announced it will lift the lockdown on Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic on April 8 as the deadly outbreak has eventually be brought under control.
The major announcement comes two months after the city of 11 million people was totally locked down in a bid to contain the fast-spreading virus.
Provincial authorities also announced that a similar lockdown measure will be lifted for other cities in Hubei province on Wednesday, March 25.
The decision was made after the authorities recorded significant reduction in new infections in Hubei, with new cases dropping to zero for five consecutive days from March 19.
On Tuesday, the province, which has accounted for the majority of infections and deaths in China, with 67,801 cases and 3,160 fatalities, reported only one new case in Wuhan, a doctor at the Hubei General Hospital, according to CNN.
While the restrictions have played a major part in slowing the spread of the virus, there has been close to zero new local cases reported in China, with the focus shifting to stopping imported cases.
Starting from Wednesday, people in Hubei, except for Wuhan, will be allowed to leave the province if they have a green QR code on their mobile phones, the Hubei provincial government said in a notice on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform.
The authorities have since ordered all its residents to obtain the color-based QR code which comes in red, yellow and green and acts as an indicator of people’s health status.
On April 8, the easing of restrictions will be extended to Wuhan, where the coronavirus first emerged in December, and residents with a green QR code will be able to leave the city and the province, the notice said.
It was also stated that people from other parts of China will be allowed to enter Hubei and Wuhan if they can produce a green QR code, with no additional paperwork required.
Businesses in Wuhan will also gradually resume operations, based on risk assessment, while the reopening dates for schools and universities remain to be determined, according to the notice.
“We are celebrating today,” a female doctor whose last name is Wu told Agence France-Presse.
“Every day, we saw the number of seriously ill patients decreasing, the situation improving, people being discharged from the hospital. The doctors and nurses are becoming more and more relaxed as the days go by. I am super happy!” she added.
Globally, the total cases of coronavirus has now passed 380,000, with more than 16,500 deaths, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking figures from the World Health Organization.