The news: Wuhan and its surrounding province, Hubei, had no new cases of coronavirus to report today, according to the Chinese state media. It’s a remarkable turnaround for the city where coronavirus originated, which was only very recently struggling to cope with thousands of sick people requiring hospitalization. All of the 34 new cases recorded the day before were people from abroad, Chinese officials said.
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Cause for optimism? The news from Hubei offers a glimmer of hope, and perhaps some lessons to governments on what works. The main one seems to be the need to put affected populations on strict lockdown at an early stage. This happened in Wuhan: it's still the case that only those with special permission can travel in and out, and people are instructed to stay inside their homes. This order will be lifted only if no additional cases are reported for two consecutive weeks, according to Li Lanjuan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. It is still possible that cases in Hubei will rebound when authorities eventually relax the lockdown.
A grim milestone: The virus’s epicenter is now arguably Italy, which is set to surpass China’s number of coronavirus-related deaths—3,250—this week. The region of Lombardy has been by far the worst-affected region, with hundreds of people dying every day.