China announced on Tuesday that it will lift the lockdown on Wuhan on April 8, over two months after the strict quarantine guidelines began. As People Magazine reports, the city was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic and was sealed off from the rest of the world on January 23 in an attempt to stop the spread of the deadly virus.
The first cases of COVID-19 emerged from the city in December 2019, and news of the potential crisis reached outside of China after whistleblowers raised the alarm about the novel coronavirus. However, Wuhan is a major hub for China with millions of citizens. As people traveled in and out of the city, the virus rapidly took hold across the world.
But after peaking at about 1,000 new cases of the disease a day, with a total of more than 81,100 cases so far, the outbreak has slowed within the country. Last week, China claimed that it had no new domestic cases of the virus. So far, the country has seen more than 3,200 deaths.
State propaganda has made the claim that the virus has been entirely defeated within the country thanks to President Xi Jinping’s “outstanding leadership.” The leader even visited the city to show that there didn’t need to be fear over its spread.
When the quarantine is lifted, transportation will begin moving once again and people will be allowed to leave the Hubei province, which Wuhan is situated in. In recent days, people have been allowed to return to work.
“For more than a month, Wuhan residents have been told to stay at home as the government escalated the lockdown measures — they’re not even allowed to go outside to shop for groceries, and instead have to rely on designated neighborhood committees to make group orders for daily necessities, often at a higher price,” CNN reports.
Meanwhile, the virus continues to devastate countries in Europe and North America. Next to China, Italy has the most cases of the virus, and the entire country is in lockdown to attempt to reduce the spread of the disease. After Italy, the United States has the third-most cases, and while the country is currently promoting social distancing measures, there are reports that Donald Trump is eyeing a lift on the restrictions to goose the ailing economy.
According to CNN, Chinese citizens are excited to return to normal life.
“This is the day I’ve been waiting for,” said Bo Hanlin, who lives in Wuhan.
Still, he isn’t certain that the city is in the clear.
“As a Wuhan resident, I feel the risk is still high. What if there is an imported case? We’ll have to stay home again,” he said.