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Coronavirus

China to lift lockdown on virus epicenter Wuhan on April 8

Workers in protective suits are seen at a checkpoint for registration and body temperature measurement, at an entrance to a residential compound in Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, in Hubei province, China.   © Reuters

BEIJING (Kyodo) -- Health authorities in China's Hubei Province said Tuesday that they will lift the months-long lockdown imposed on Wuhan, the epicenter of the country's coronavirus outbreak, on April 8 as the number of new infection cases there dwindles.

The city of 11 million was put on lockdown on Jan. 23 in order to stem the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus, which has infected 81,171 people while killing nearly 3,300 in mainland China, according to the National Health Commission.

The province, of which Wuhan is the capital, will also remove all restrictions on people traveling in and out of the province on Wednesday for individuals who register to a health code rating system, the authorities said.

The system, introduced nationally last month, assigns residents multicolor QR codes that determine their quarantine status, including whether they are permitted onto trains, expressways, shops and office buildings.

The number of new coronavirus infection cases in mainland China doubled from a day earlier to 78 on Tuesday, including one in Wuhan.

Following five straight days of no infections reported in the city, Wuhan health authorities said a doctor was found to have contracted the virus, possibly while working at a hospital.

Over a 24-hour period to the end of Monday, national health authorities confirmed 74 cases in passengers arriving from overseas in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong.

The remaining four cases were locally transmitted, such as the one in Wuhan and one in Beijing.

The majority of mainland China's new infections over the past week have been found in travelers arriving from overseas while domestically transmitted cases have dwindled. The nationwide tally of imported cases as of Monday stands at 427.

The National Health Commission also reported seven more deaths, all of them in Wuhan, taking the total number of deaths on the mainland to 3,277.

Ninety percent of the total confirmed cases for mainland China have been discharged after recovery, while 4,735 patients are still undergoing treatment.

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