Wuhan residents enjoy camping and picnic in the spring breeze over the weekend at the city's Donghu Lake scenic area. Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province cleared all COVID-19 patients in hospital on Sunday, according to the National Health Commission. (Photo: Global Times)
Even as the coronavirus begins to recede within China, hardest-hit city Wuhan's GDP in the first quarter plummeted 40.5 percent year-on-year, an unprecedented blow to the city's and Hubei Province's economies.
The GDP of Hubei Province fell 39.2 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, making it the most economically ravaged region in China.
Among 31 provinces and regions in the Chinese mainland, only Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region reported a positive GDP growth figure, at 1 percent in the first quarter, followed by Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region whose GDP shrank 0.2 percent.
The Tibet Autonomous Region was in February the first region in China to report zero confirmed COVID-19 cases and suspected cases.
It is notable that provinces and regions in Central and West China, which have relatively weak economic bases, have now become the areas with the fastest economic growth. All the top 10 provinces and regions achieving faster economic growth are in these areas.
Central China's Hunan Province and Southwest China's Guizhou Province both saw their GDPs contract 1.9 percent in the first three months, a relatively small contraction compared with developed areas in East China.
The economies of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong Province fell between 6.6 and 6.7 percent, close to the national 6.8 percent contraction in the first quarter.
Cities along the coast in eastern China rely on export-oriented trade, hence they are feeling the pain as the coronavirus continues to rattle overseas countries.
However, with sound economic bases, Guangdong and East China's Jiangsu Province still achieved GDP grosses above 2 trillion yuan ($282.44 billion), ranking top in China.
In order to boost Hubei's economic recovery, a leadership meeting on supporting the economic and social development in Hubei was held on Wednesday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee has discussed and endorsed a package of policies for supporting the economic and social development in Hubei, specifying measures in fiscal, taxation, financial, credit, investment and foreign trade aspects, Xinhua said.
Hubei's economy will be on the right track in the second quarter, said Ye Qing, deputy director of the Hubei statistics bureau, adding that if the province's economy continues to fall in the second quarter, it won't be a double-digit decline.