Coronavirus hope for the world as China lifts lockdown at epicentre

Life for tens of millions in Hubei province beginning to return to normality

The easing of lockdown restrictions in China's Hubei province gives hope to the rest of the world, an expert has said, though the risk of further outbreaks of Covid-19 remains "very high".

Andrew Tatem, professor of spatial demography and epidemiology at the University of Southampton, said other nations would be looking to China to see what restrictions can be lifted and for how long.

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Tens of millions of Chinese residents in Hubei province will be able to resume travel from Wednesday, with travel restrictions in the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the global outbreak, lifted on April 8.

Lockdown restrictions are being lifted across Hubei province.Lockdown restrictions are being lifted across Hubei province.
Lockdown restrictions are being lifted across Hubei province.

China has reported no new infections of coronavirus domestically for several days, although some people have questioned those figures.

It is still seeing a handful of cases among people arriving back in the country from overseas.

Prof Tatem said: "The easing of lockdown restrictions in Hubei, and soon in Wuhan, offers hope for much of the rest of the world that an end to the stringent control measures can be in sight.

"Along with a few other countries that have been at the forefront of tackling the disease early, China has provided valuable lessons about how the outbreak can be controlled.

"Studying what happened in China has shown us what types of interventions can be most effective, when, and in what combinations.

"The lessons we can next learn from China are about which restrictions can safely be lifted, when, where, for whom, and what still needs to stay in place.

"While Wuhan suffered a major outbreak, the vast majority of people in China did not contract the disease.

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"This means that the risk of further outbreaks remains very high, especially with so many cases now outside of China and importation becoming a new problem.

"Making sure that the country doesn't suffer repeated outbreaks requiring new lockdowns will be a major priority for authorities in China, and the rest of the world should look carefully to see what happens and learn from it."

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