Staff members line up at attention as they prepare to spray disinfectant at Wuhan Railway Station in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on March 24, 2020. - China announced on March 24 that a lockdown would be lifted on more than 50 million people in central Hubei province where the COVID-19 coronavirus first emerged late last year. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

China has announced it will lift the lockdown on Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, on April 8, marking a significant milestone in its battle against the deadly outbreak.

The date comes more than two months after the city was first sealed off from the outside world, in an unprecedented bid to contain the fast spreading virus. Similar lockdown measures will be lifted Wednesday for other cities in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, provincial authorities announced Tuesday.
The easing of travel restrictions follows a significant reduction in new infections in Hubei, with new cases dropping to zero for five consecutive days from March 19 — down from thousands of daily new cases at the height of the epidemic in February. On Tuesday, the province reported one new case in Wuhan, a doctor at the Hubei General Hospital.
The province has accounted for the majority of infections and deaths in China, with 67,801 cases and 3,160 fatalities reported as of Monday.
In a precursor to the types of measures that would later be introduced throughout the world, Wuhan, a city of some 11 million people, was placed under state-imposed lockdown on January 23, with all flights, trains and buses canceled and highways entrances blocked. Other cities in Hubei province soon followed suit, adopting similar restrictions.
The sweeping measures, which have affected more than 60 million Hubei residents, have been heralded in China as having allowed the country to turn a corner in its fight against the outbreak. In a major show of confidence, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan on March 10, three months after the outbreak was first detected in the city.
But while the restrictions have slowed the spread of the virus, they failed to contain it. In the past week, there has been close to zero new local cases reported in China, with the focus shifting instead to stopping Covid-19 cases from being imported from overseas.
Globally, the total caseload has now passed 380,000, with more than 16,500 deaths, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking figures from the World Health Organization and additional sources.
Source: CNN