Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities lift outbound travel restrictions in Wuhan, China, April 8. Rail, airport, tram, and other services resuming.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Wuhan, Hubei Province
  • Xiangyang, Hubei Province
  • Shiyan, China

This alert began 08 Apr 2020 16:35 GMT and is scheduled to expire 22 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Preventative restrictions
  • Location(s): Hubei Province (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Health screenings, increased security, transport and business disruptions and movement restrictions

Summary
Chinese authorities have lifted outbound travel restrictions in Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei Province, April 8, amid decreasing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. The city has resumed train, ferry, tram, and taxi services and has reopened multiple bus routes. Officials have also reopened Wuhan Tianhe International Airport (WUH), and flights have resumed, though international flights and flights to Beijing remain suspended. Wuhan has also reopened multiple highways and is allowing individuals to use private vehicles. Public transport, as well as airport authorities, are requiring passengers to provide "green" health codes (available from various mobile applications) indicating that they do not have COVID-19 as well as have their temperature checked.

Chinese authorities continue to ease movement restrictions in Hubei Province as of April 8. Authorities have lifted travel bans in all areas of the province. Inbound and outbound rail restrictions had previously been lifted in the province outside Wuhan March 25 and resumed inbound rail services in Wuhan March 28. All airports in Hubei have resumed domestic flights and public transport has resumed provincewide as of April 8. Hubei residents wishing to travel outside of the province must submit a "green" health code and undergo a temperature scan to authorities.

Most business operations in Hubei Province are continuing to gradually normalize, though nationwide restrictions on venues such as cinemas remain in place. Companies require government approval of their COVID-19 prevention and emergency response plans before resuming operations. Officials have not announced when schools will reopen in the province.

Some residential movement restrictions remain in place in the city as of April 8, as authorities cordon off neighborhoods to facilitate health screenings and tracking the movements of individuals. Officials continue to prioritize prevention and government operations, as well as companies that provide daily necessities or are critical to supply chains. Lingering transport, business, and supply chain disruptions are likely in Wuhan and nearby areas of central Hubei through at least mid-April. While controls and related disruptions are likely to continue to ease, strict movement controls could be reinforced if a significant rise in reported COVID-19 cases occurs.

Several countries are maintaining warnings or advisories against travel to Wuhan and surrounding areas of Hubei Province. Various countries have also evacuated their citizens from Wuhan. Foreign governments are likely to maintain travel advisories in the near term, as authorities continue to report some COVID-19 cases, despite improving conditions.

Advice
Avoid travel to Wuhan until authorities lift movement and transport restrictions. If operating in affected areas, register and maintain contact with your diplomatic mission. Follow all official instructions and remain polite and nonconfrontational if questioned by security personnel. Avoid crowded areas as a precaution. Closely monitor official announcements on any additional movement restrictions. Confirm travel reservations in and around Hubei Province.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
Hubei Government: en.hubei.gov.cn

World Health Organization: www.who.int