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01 May 2020 | 08:41 PM UTC

China: Hubei province to ease lockdown restrictions from May 2 /update 60

China News Alert

Hubei province authorities to ease lockdown restrictions from May 2; heed authorities' directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/1/2020, 12:00 AM until 5/15/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Shanghai). COUNTRY/REGION China, China

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On Friday, May 1, Hubei province authorities stated that lockdown measures introduced due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak would be eased from Saturday, May 2. Authorities will also reduce the COVID-19 response level from the highest to the second-highest tiers, and control measures will be adjusted accordingly. The decision came after the detection of no new cases of COVID-19 in Hubei province on Thursday, April 30.

Beijing authorities announced the easing of COVID-19 lockdown measures on Thursday, April 30. Travel restrictions on domestic travelers will be eased, and the requirement for individuals arriving to Beijing from elsewhere in China to undergo a 14-day quarantine will be lifted. Exceptions to the relaxed measures include travelers arriving from high-risk zones such as Heilongjiang province and some parts of Guangdong province.

Authorities also stated on Wednesday, April 29, that parliament will commence its annual session on Friday, May 22, as planned, indicating that the Chinese government is likely to continue easing COVID-19 restrictions.

On Sunday, April 26, Chinese authorities announced a ban on behaviors deemed as "uncivilized" in an effort to improve public hygiene. The measures will enter into effect on Monday, June 1, and will include the prohibition of sneezing or coughing without covering the nose or mouth as well as a requirement to "dress properly," with citizens no longer permitted to go bare-chested while in public. The new measures expand on a range of perceived uncivilized behaviors already prohibited by the government, including spitting in public, littering, and smoking in prohibited areas.

Additionally, on Wednesday, April 22, authorities in Harbin (Heilongjiang province) tightened entry restrictions in the city, the site of China's largest COVID-19 outbreak, including a ban on non-residents and non-locally registered vehicles from entering residential areas. The city had previously ordered that persons arriving from outside China or other epidemic zones be tested and isolated for 28 days. The Chinese government claims that most of the recently imported cases of COVID-19 were imported from Russia. While the border remains open to Chinese nationals, state media has encouraged Chinese citizens to not return to China from Russia during the pandemic.

As of May 1, authorities have confirmed 83,958 COVID-19 cases nationwide, including 4637 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.


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