Are signs of normality returning to coronavirus epicentre Wuhan and the rest of Hubei province in China?


That’s the answer you could be looking for, but might not want to hear if you are in the UK and wondering for how many days the lockdown might go on for.

On Wednesday, Hubei province will end its restrictions on inbound and outbound traffic – with the exception of its capital Wuhan.

It has been given a date of April 8 for transport to resume in and out of the original coronavirus epicentre.

The lockdown began in Wuhan on January 23 and although movement will resume, it will still be heavily restricted.

Only those deemed virus-free and who have obtained a "green code" issued by the provincial authorities will be allowed to leave.

Likewise, only those with that health guarantee code will be allowed to enter.

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It seems foreigners cannot obtain access to this green code system so, for now, this only applies to Chinese nationals living in the province.

It also applies to the rest of the country and is therefore currently preventing me from leaving Beijing – even though I would qualify as being virus-free and able to move around.

The lifting of these transport restrictions in Hubei marks a major milestone and follows two weeks of next-to-no new domestic cases of Covid-19.

They are also aimed at getting the economy going again and allowing the millions displaced by the country’s lockdown to return home or return to work.

  • Footage of preparations ahead of restrictions being lifted, in footage taken by Chinese state television

As well as the green code, everyone who will be free to move following the lifting of these restrictions will face daily temperature checks and have to update that code system on a daily basis.

Their movements and health will continue to be monitored for the foreseeable future.

This does not mean that China is out of the woods.

From Wednesday, Beijing will introduce even tighter restrictions on those returning to China from abroad, amid rising concerns and rising numbers of imported cases.

Workers disinfect a subway train. Credit: AP

There have been more than four hundreds imported cases so far among mostly Chinese citizens who live abroad and have fled the virus elsewhere.

A large number from the UK.

With the domestic spread under control the government is now going to extreme lengths to ensure these imported cases cannot take hold.

Therefore, anyone arriving into the capital will be required to not only quarantine for two weeks but they will be tested for Covid-19.

They will also be made to quarantine at a designated hotel, no longer at home.

China is doing everything it can to prevent a second wave of infection, amid concerns it will be impossible to eradicated this virus completely, in the short term.

President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan during its lockdown earlier in March. Credit: AP