China to lift lockdown measures on Wuhan in April

WUHAN, China (ABC News) – Chinese authorities plan to lift the draconian travel restrictions imposed on the city of Wuhan next month.

The city, in China’s central Hubei province, was placed under lockdown on Jan. 23 as thousands of residents became infected with the novel coronavirus before it spread to other parts of the world.

The Hubei provincial government announced Tuesday that those control measures will be lifted on April 8 and cleared residents will finally be allowed to leave the city. Those who wish to enter the city will also need clearance, according to a statement from the provincial government.

Officials have already begun to slowly relax some of the strict measures put in place in Wuhan. Road checkpoints are being removed and some private vehicles have returned to the streets. The city’s subway system remains shut down but has begun trial runs as workers disinfect the subway trains and stations in preparation for the restoration of public transport.

After several consecutive days without any local transmission of the virus, Wuhan reported one new case of confirmed infection on Monday, according to China’s National Health Commission.

Over 1.5 billion people across the globe — more than one-fifth of the world’s population — have been ordered or urged to stay home amid a deadly pandemic of the novel coronavirus, which the World Health Organization has warned “is accelerating.”

The new respiratory virus, known officially as COVID-19, has killed at least 16,559 people worldwide since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan back in December.

There are more than 381,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 spanning across every continent except Antartica, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

With more than 46,000 diagnosed cases, the United States has the third-highest national total behind Italy and China. The virus has spread to every U.S. state as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, claiming the lives of at least 590 people.

ABC News’ Karson Yiu contributed to this report.

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