Chinese officials said on Sunday that Wuhan, the city that recorded the first cases of the coronavirus in December, has no hospitalised covid-19 patients. The news comes three months after the city, home to 11 million, was put on lockdown.
Per the New York Times, Mi Feng, the spokesman for China’s National Health Commission, said that the next step was to continue to guard against outside transmissions and “rebounds from within.” China lifted Wuhan’s lockdown on April 8, allowing residents to resume a semblance of normal life. This new normal is full of restrictions, such as temperature checks and limits on where people in the city can go, to prevent cases from exploding again.
Officials said that as of Saturday, the city had 12 covid-19 cases, but no new infections, the Times reported. China reported 11 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for the previous day.
According to the Times, there were 46,452 cases of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 3,869 deaths in Wuhan as of Sunday. However, critics say the number is higher.
Health experts and governments have accused China of downplaying the cases in the region and said that has made it harder for other nations to understand and prepare for the disease. A recently published study found that more than 232,000 people may have been infected with covid-19 in China in late February. Overall, there are currently 83,909 reported cases in China.
The lifting of Wuhan’s lockdown was celebrated in China. Officials put on a light show alongside the Yangtze River and projected images of healthcare workers aiding patients on skyscrapers and bridges, per the AP. Citizens waved flags and sang China’s national anthem. Thousands boarded trains and planes leaving the city.
There is no doubt that countries around the world will be watching Wuhan as they weigh lifting their own lockdowns. In Europe, two of the hardest-hit countries, Italy and Spain, are planning on loosening their lockdown measures over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, in the U.S., some governors have already begun lifting lockdown measures, and several more have announced plans to follow this example in the coming weeks.