Coronavirus epicenter Wuhan slowly opens up, China focuses on imported cases

By Javier Triana

Beijing, Mar 28 (efe-epa).- The epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, China’s Hubei province and its regional capital Wuhan, continued their tentative reopening as domestic transmission numbers dropped to minimal levels.

Trains began to arrive in Wuhan on Saturday, although passengers alighting in the city must carry paperwork proving their good health.

The metro system in Hubei’s capital also got up and running again almost two months after Chinese authorities enforced a lockdown in the city of 11 million people to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The quarantine is due to remain in place until 8 April.

“I went to the supermarket this morning. The line was very long and there were a lot of people in the street,” a Wuhan resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told Efe.

“Everyone was wearing masks and kept meters of distance between each other, but much better, in any case,” they added.

From Sunday, flights in and out of Hubei are due to resume with the exception of Wuhan, where air connections are scheduled to get underway on 8 April. Flights connecting Wuhan with the capital Beijing and international destinations will resume even further down the road.

China’s government has this week adopted several measures designed to curtail the number of imported Covid-19 cases.

Authorities registered 54 such cases on Saturday, the same number as on Friday. Some 17 of them were detected in Shanghai.

The number of imported cases has eclipsed local transmissions, which authorities say have dropped to one or two per week.

In a bid to contain them, Shanghai has followed in the footsteps of Beijing by adopting measures that require any passenger arriving from an international destination to isolate in government-monitored quarantine centers.

China has banned all entry to foreigners, whether or not they hold valid visas or residency cards.

The number of active cases in China is in descent. The National Health Commission said 3,128 people were in hospital, 921 of those in a serious condition. It was the first time that number has dropped below 1,000 since January.

The number of overall cases in China since the outbreak began stands at 81,394, of which 3,295 have died and 74,971 have recovered.

Three people died from Covid-19 on Saturday, all of them in Wuhan.

While the pandemic has brought China to a momentary standstill in terms of production and economic growth, the consequences have had a positive effect on the environment.

The country’s ecology ministry said that air quality in 337 cities it monitors was at 78.3 percent through the first two months of the year, a 7.4 percent increase compared to the same period in 2019. EFE


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