China’s Hubei province, 1st Covid-19 epicenter, reports ZERO new cases as Beijing lifts regional lockdown

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Hubei province, the origin point for the coronavirus and China’s hardest-hit area, has announced no new cases of the deadly illness, just as authorities repeal far-reaching travel restrictions imposed across the region.

The province saw zero new infections on Wednesday, having counted 67,000 cases in total since the outbreak began last December. The whole of Mainland China also confirmed no locally-transmitted cases, according to the National Health Commission, which disclosed only 67 new patients who arrived from abroad, spread across 13 provinces and municipalities.

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The encouraging news comes as Hubei wraps up a massive quarantine of its 60 million residents, allowing citizens to travel freely and return to work as businesses reopen after months of virus-induced lockdown.

Sichuan province in central China also scaled back travel restrictions on Wednesday, opening up teahouses, internet cafes and the region’s beloved mahjong parlors, among other establishments, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper.

Following a harrowing battle with the pathogen, the city of Wuhan – Hubei’s provincial capital, where the majority of China’s Covid-19 infections were observed – lifted its quarantine earlier this week, and also reported zero new cases on Tuesday.

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While the spread of the disease has drastically slowed in recent weeks, a steady trickle of fatalities continues, with six new deaths reported on Wednesday, bringing China’s total to 3,287. Since December, the country has reported over 81,000 cases of the illness in all, though 73,000 patients have since recovered. The coronavirus outbreak in the US, meanwhile, has well surpassed Hubei’s, with more than 69,000 infections nationwide as of Thursday morning.

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