Chinese authorities are planning to lift the mass quarantine on the central province of Hubei, where the coronavirus pandemic first emerged, as part of nationwide efforts to revitalize an economy brought to a near standstill by the contagion.
Hubei authorities will end restrictions on outbound traffic starting Wednesday, with the exception of its capital city of Wuhan, which will block departures for two more weeks, according to a provincial government notice issued Tuesday.
Even so, only people deemed free from contagion risk will be allowed to leave. Those leaving Hubei must possess a “green code” issued by provincial authorities to certify their health status, the notice said.
Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, will end its controls on outbound traffic starting April 8, according to the notice, and those departing must also possess the green code attesting to their health.
The city will also start encouraging resumption of business operations, in accordance with health-risk assessments, the notice said.
Just over two months ago, on Jan. 23, China started locking down Wuhan in a bid to stem the spread of the new coronavirus, which was first detected in the city. Similar measures were extended across Hubei province that month, while partial lockdowns were also imposed across much of China, affecting hundreds of millions of people.