China’s coronavirus-battered Hubei emerges from quarantine

Beijing, Mar 25 (EFE).- Movement in China’s central-eastern province of Hubei, where the novel coronavirus originated and the area of the country worst affected by the virus, resumed as travel restrictions were lifted on Wednesday.

Citizens and travelers who had been under lockdown in Hubei are now able to leave the province, except in the city of Wuhan – the province’s capital – where quarantine will not be lifted until Apr. 8.

Railway services have resumed in the province with the exception of Wuhan, where they will not operate in either of the 17 stations in the city, Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

Dozens of people were waiting to leave Hubei on Tuesday night at the border between the cities of Huanggang in Hubei and Jiujiang in the province of Jiangxi, the agency said.

Trains will begin arriving in Wuhan from Saturday, while those departing from the city will have to wait until Apr. 8.

Meanwhile, the bus service resumed in Wuhan after a period of almost nine weeks at a time when the official figures are barely recording any new COVID-19 infections or deaths.

People wishing to use these services must present either a code generated on their phones or a medical certificate issued by provincial authorities to certify their health status.

Thus begins a relative return to normalcy since a quarantine in Wuhan from Jan. 23 had left all non-emergency transportation services paralyzed.

At least 2,526 people have been killed by COVID-19 in Wuhan since the outbreak was detected last year and 1,358 are still in serious condition.

The total number of infections detected in China since the start of the pandemic stands at 81,218, out of which 3,281 people have died, according to the latest data of the country’s National Health Commission.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government’s fiscal revenue fell 9.9 percent year-on-year in the first two months of 2020 – the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in the country and when production, tourism, hospitality and other industries ground to a halt. It stood at 3.5 trillion yuan ($494.96 billion), the biggest drop since February 2009, according to data published by the finance ministry on Wednesday.

Tax revenues declined by 11.2 percent year-on-year during the first two months of the year to 3.1 trillion yuan while non-tax revenues grew by 1.7 percent to 405.7 billion yuan, the ministry said. Government spending also fell by 2.9 percent in the first two months of the year despite public health outlays rising by 22.7 percent. EFE


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