TIRANA – China on Wednesday lifted outbound travel restrictions on Wuhan, the city hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, ending a lockdown that sealed off around 10 million people from the rest of the world for 76 days.
The easing of travel restrictions came after new infections have been drastically reduced across China, marking a milestone in the country’s fight against the epidemic while giving confidence o a world grappling to contain the virus’s ferocious spread, said Xinhua news agency..
After barricades were removed at toll gates around Wuhan at Tuesday midnight, vehicles in long lines honked horns and rushed out, in an outpouring of celebratory sentiment at the long-awaited moment.
On Jan. 23, Wuhan declared unprecedented traffic restrictions, including suspending the city’s public transport and all outbound flights and trains. Similar restrictions were soon introduced in other areas in Hubei. A key part of the strictest and the most comprehensive public health measures in modern human history, the lockdown on Wuhan has proved effective in curbing the spread of the deadly virus.
For weeks, the megacity had been the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China, reporting over 50,000 confirmed cases and more than 2,500 deaths, accounting for 61 percent and 77 percent of the national total, respectively.
On March 18, Wuhan reported no new infections for the first time and has since largely maintained the positive trend.
During the time Wuhan was put in isolation, the Chinese government mobilized over 100,000 medical personnel to fight the outbreak in the city. As of Tuesday, over 46,000 patients in Wuhan had been discharged from hospital.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has hailed China’s prompt and decisive measures against the pandemic.”In the face of a previously unknown virus, China has rolled out perhaps the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history,” said a report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 released in late February./argumentum.al