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Wuhan, China — where the coronavirus originated — to be relieved of lockdown restrictions April 8

Long road to recovery

Staff members line up at attention as they prepare to spray disinfectant at Wuhan Railway Station in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province Tuesday. China announced Tuesday that a lockdown would be lifted on more than 50 million people in central Hubei province where the COVID-19 coronavirus first emerged late last year. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

The Chinese government announced that it will lift COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on the city of Wuhan on April 8, a significant step in the city where the coronavirus that is now spreading worldwide originated, CNN reported.

The coronavirus began spreading in Wuhan, located in the Hubei province, as early as November, although the government actively suppressed that information until the end of December. By February, it had spread so far out of control that Wuhan residents were completely confined to their homes, prohibited from leaving even to purchase food.

From late January through roughly mid-February, China was announcing thousands of new cases of the coronavirus each day. Over the past week, Wuhan has had five consecutive days with no new reported cases. One new case was reported Tuesday in Wuhan — a doctor at Hubei General Hospital.

Wuhan had 67,801 cases out of the roughly 81,000 total COVID-19 cases in China, and 3,160 fatalities out of the 3,277 reported deaths. The city of 11 million people was officially locked down Jan. 23, with all forms of public transportation in and out of the city shut down completely, and roads blocked off.

Outside of Wuhan, other cities in the Hubei province are already seeing restrictions eased. Residents' ability to travel is dictated by the color of a QR code they have on their mobile phones.

Healthy people with no known contact with infected individuals receive a green QR code, and can freely leave the province. People who have tested positive for the coronavirus, or who are suspected to be infected even though they're asymptomatic, or who have a fever receive a red QR code and are restricted from traveling. Close contacts of red QR code individuals receive a yellow QR code, and also face some travel restrictions.

That QR code system will apply to Wuhan beginning April 8. Businesses in Wuhan will gradually begin reopening, but a date for reopening schools and universities has not been determined. Some residents with green QR codes have already been allowed to return to work, if they receive approval from their employer.

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