Community workers distribute free vegetables to members of households under quarantine inside a residential compound in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, on Feb 11, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)
Residents in communities designated as "infection-free" in Wuhan, the hardest-hit city of the novel coronavirus epidemic in China, are now allowed to engage in personal activities inside residential blocks in a staggered way, the city's disease prevention and control task force said on Wednesday.
Groupings are still banned, and residents who feel like heading outdoors will be grouped based on time slots and specific buildings to perform personal activities in batches, according to a guideline released by the task force. The document takes effect immediately.
The relaxation of quarantine measures imposed in residential areas in Wuhan came as the number of new infections in the city has dwindled and local authorities have begun resuming production and work activities in an orderly fashion.
According to the guideline, rural areas labeled as free of the virus in Wuhan are permitted to restore their normal lives and initiate agricultural production. Transport of agricultural materials should be smoothed out and relevant businesses can resume full operation, according to the document.
For residential communities gaining "infection-free" status for more than a week, residents are granted more freedom in conducting personal activities, and convenience stores, drugstores and small-sized food markets in such communities are allowed to restart business after meeting sanitary requirements, implementing disinfection measures and conducting health checkups of sellers, among other precautionary measures, the guideline said.
The guideline also stressed a measured and targeted approach in loosening restrictions, prohibiting any public gatherings or cross-household visits.
Hubei province and its capital city Wuhan reported zero new infections for the first time on Wednesday since the epidemic emerged in December, according to the National Health Commission.
As of 4 pm on Tuesday, there were 5,607 residential compounds free of infections, accounting for 78.9 percent of the total. Nearly 95 percent of rural villages, or 1,844 villages, were also labeled as infection-free, the task force said on Wednesday morning.