China remains by far the most affected country in terms of coronavirus cases and deaths; it has had 80,793 infections and 3,169 deaths since the pandemic began in December last year.
But as the United States and Europe grapple with a growing number of cases, the rate of new infections in China has slowed significantly.
China’s Hubei province, the epicenter of the pandemic, was reporting thousands of infections per day just weeks ago. Yesterday, there were only eight new infections reported there, the country’s National Health Commission said.
Xi visits Wuhan: On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping made his first visit to the Hubei provincial capital of Wuhan since the outbreak began more than two months ago, an apparent sign of confidence that the country’s preventative measures — including sweeping travel restrictions — are beginning to work.
Hubei authorities said in a statement Wednesday that the government will gradually allow businesses to reopen and bring public transport back online, key steps in the push to get life back to normal.
This will help the battered economy: Beijing’s decision to keep factories shut and restrict the movement of tens of millions of people has affected everything from property sales, to local business operations and major supply chains in the world’s second-biggest economy. Stock markets worldwide have reacted with wild swings in part due to coronavirus-related fears about the global economy.