China's virus epicentre to open as world locks down

Updated: Mar 25, 2020, 08:37 IST | Agencies | Wuhan/Hubei

Hubei to allow healthy residents to travel, two months after they were ordered to stay indoors

Medical workers wearing protective gear work near a COVID-19 patient in Rome on Tuesday. Pic/AFP
Medical workers wearing protective gear work near a COVID-19 patient in Rome on Tuesday. Pic/AFP

China announced on Tuesday an end to travel curbs at the epicentre of the Coronavirus pandemic, as governments around the world tightened lockdowns affecting 1.7 billion people in a desperate effort to slow the spread of the deadly disease.

Hubei province, where the virus emerged late last year, will allow healthy residents to travel from midnight, officials said, two months after they were ordered to stay indoors. The relaxation of rules, which will not apply to the hardest-hit city of Wuhan until April 8, as Britain and New Zealand joined nations in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Asia in declaring countrywide lockdowns.

UK under lockdown
The British government, which faced accusations it dithered over the health crisis and needlessly allowed schools to remain open for longer than European counterparts, came into line on Monday. PM Boris Johnson ordered a three-week shutdown of 'non-essential' shops and services and banned gatherings of more than two people.

COVID-19 is accelerating
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the global pandemic was clearly accelerating. The number of Coronavirus deaths has topped 16,200, with more than 3,60,000 declared infections in 174 countries and territories, according to an AFP tally. Tedros said it took 67 days from the beginning of the outbreak in China in December for the virus to infect the first 1,00,000 people worldwide. In comparison, it required only 11 days for the second 1,00,000 cases and just four days for the third 1,00,000, he said.

16,200
Coronavirus deaths worldwide

67,801
Confirm Coronavirus cases in Hubei

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