Wuhan, China went into lockdown on Jan. 23 after it became the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak

By Eric Todisco
March 24, 2020 09:43 AM
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The lockdown in Wuhan, China will end two-and-a-half months after the city was sealed off after becoming the epicenter of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at the beginning of the year, multiple outlets report.

Hubei provincial authorities announced Tuesday on the government’s website that the strict quarantine measures on Wuhan, which began on Jan. 23, will be lifted on April 8.

Transportation in the city will resume and people in Wuhan will be allowed to leave the Hubei province next month, Bloomberg reported.

The first cases of COVID-19 originated in Wuhan in late December. The coronavirus was initially contained to China, but Wuhan is a major transportation hub with hundreds of flights leaving and landing from the city of 11 million each day. Soon, as people flew from the area to different parts of the world, the coronavirus easily spread to other countries.

At the outbreak’s peak in early February, China was seeing around 1,000 new cases of the virus a day.

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But in the past week, the outbreak in China has rapidly slowed down. On March 19, the country announced no new domestic cases of coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak began.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there have been more than 81,100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in China and 3,281 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty

China has slowly returned to normal life, and leaders have allowed workers in Hubei province to return to closed factories over the last week.

State media propaganda is claiming that they have defeated the virus, according to TIME, and a new book from China’s official press agency Xinhua claims that President Xi Jinping’s “outstanding leadership as a great power leader” is how they beat COVID-19.

While China had long been the country with the most cases and deaths from the coronavirus, Italy surpassed China’s death total with a recorded 6,077 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins.

Italy, along with Spain and France, is now under lockdown in an attempt to slow the virus’ spread. In northern Italy, which has seen the largest outbreak, all schools, bars, theaters and nightclubs are closed and all religious ceremonies, including funerals or weddings, are postponed. Residents are allowed out to pick up necessities like groceries or medicine but are to otherwise stay inside.

The United States currently has the third-most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world, with at least 46,481 and 593 deaths. In response, the country has been practicing social distancing, which health and government officials have recommended to stop the virus’ spread.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.