China was the first country to put a lockdown into effect in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus across the nation. The world was stunned by the country’s decision, but after two months of lockdown measures, the country has seen a huge reduction in cases. So how long was China on lockdown?
The coronavirus outbreak was first identified in Wuhan in December 2019 and has since been recognised as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
As of April 22, 2,567,122 cases have been recorded around the world, 82,790 of which have been reported in China.
The province of Hubei, where Wuhan City is located, accounts for 68,128 of these cases.
Earlier this year, Wuhan City was overwhelmed with thousands of new cases of coronavirus each day, but now, Chinese authorities said the city and its surrounding province had no new cases to report.
Last week, the latest figures for deaths in Wuhan rose by 50 percent as the official Xinhua News Agency quoted an unnamed official with Wuhan’s epidemic and prevention and control headquarters as saying that during the early stages of the outbreak, “due to the insufficiency in admission and treatment capability, a few medical institutions failed to connect with the disease prevention and control system in time, while hospitals were overloaded and medics were overwhelmed with patients”.
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Wuhan has a population of 11 million people and with tens of millions more people in nearby cities, these regions were soon brought under lockdown.
China first put Wuhan City, the centre of the outbreak, on lockdown on January 23.
The move by Chinese authorities meant no travel in or out of the city was allowed, even for those who had important medical or humanitarian reasons.
Inside the city, public transport was completely suspended and cars were banned from the roads.
Schools and universities in China were already on holiday when the lockdown was put into effect, but this was extended indefinitely.
All shops were closed, except those selling food or medicine.
Only vehicles with special permission were permitted on the roads.
The streets in China were left empty and silent.
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When the lockdown first began people were allowed out of their homes, but restrictions soon tightened.
In some areas, this was limited to outings of just one member of a family every two days in order to buy necessities.
Others barred residents from leaving, obligating them to order food and other supplies from couriers.
When the policy later stepped up again, officials visited homes door to door to undertake health checks and force ill persons into isolation.
A disabled boy reportedly died after he was left without food, water or help when his father and brother were quarantined leaving him without proper care.
Controls were stepped up elsewhere across China soon after Wuhan was locked down.
This was in part because of fears that people had raced to escape the city before it was closed off, which could have sparked the spread of coronavirus across the country.
Most buildings across China have security guards who monitored the comings and goings, with residential compounds closing to all but their inhabitants.
Masks also become common sights across the country.
But 59 days after the lockdown was first introduced, China started to relax some measures.
Some people are being allowed back to work and nationwide there are still strict controls, for fear the virus might return.
Some restaurants and shops ask to check temperatures before entry and operate quotas.
Officials have also become cautious of imported cases erasing earlier gains, with Beijing and Anhui province requiring travellers from abroad to quarantine in centralised observation areas.
Other provinces have ordered travellers from heavily hit countries to self-isolate at their home or in government-mandated centres for 14 days.
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