Coronavirus: Large parts of China relax transport, movement curbs
BEIJING: Large parts of China relaxed curbs on transport and movement of people yesterday as reported new cases of the coronavirus outside the worst-hit province fell to the lowest in a month.
Figures released by the national health authority yesterday showed 24 out of China's 31 provinces and regions - including Beijing, Shanghai and populous provinces such as Henan and Anhui - reported zero cases of new infections on Feb 23, the best showing since it began publishing nationwide figures on Jan 20.
There were just 11 new cases in six other provincial-level jurisdictions, while in Hubei province, the number of new cases fell to 398 from 630 a day earlier.
Yunnan, Guangdong, Shanxi and Guizhou yesterday lowered their coronavirus emergency response measures from the most serious level, joining the provinces of Gansu and Liaoning in relaxing restrictions on traffic and movement of people.
The coronavirus has infected nearly 77,000 people and killed more than 2,500 in China.
Beijing, which has reported two straight days of zero new infections, is not letting down its guard.
People not wearing masks in public places will be warned, and office buildings must set upper limits on daily human traffic, municipal authorities said yesterday.
US hypermarket chain Costco received a verbal warning from the authorities in Shanghai after a large crowd flocked to its newly opened store in the city.
An announcement that the city of Wuhan would relax some of its travel restrictions and allow some people to leave was made without authorisation and has been revoked, the local government said yesterday.
The city said it would continue to impose strict controls over its borders in order to prevent the virus from spreading further.
It said it had reprimanded the people responsible for the earlier announcement that healthy people would be allowed to leave if they had vital business.
In a separate development, China yesterday declared an immediate and "comprehensive" ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals, believed to be responsible for the outbreak. - AFP, REUTERS