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Citing reports from the Associated Press, the news from China’s central city of Wuhan, where the virus first emerged late last year, offered a rare glimmer of hope and perhaps a lesson in the strict measures needed to halt its spread.
Wuhan once was the place where thousands lay sick or dying in hurriedly constructed hospitals, the first place in the world where medical facilities appeared overwhelmed, but Chinese authorities said on Thursday that all 34 new cases recorded over the previous day had been imported from abroad.
“Today, we have seen the dawn after so many days of hard effort,” said Jiao Yahui, a senior inspector at the National Health Commission.
While China did not report any new cases in Wuhan or Hubei province, it did record eight additional deaths. Wuhan has been under a strict lock-down since January.
Officials are moving to loosen travel restrictions, but only inside the surrounding province of Hubei. Wuhan remains cut-off, with only those with special permission allowed to travel in or out.
Health workers and medical experts who had arrived Wuhan in the surge of the outbreak were also seen leaving the city as grateful citizens waved goodbye.
Still, the virus, which has infected 219,000 people around the world, took its toll elsewhere, both in human and economic terms.
Overall, 8,900 patients have died around the world, and 84,000 have recovered.