Live updates: Trump suspends travel from Europe to U.S. due to coronavirus; pushes for economic measures

BEIJING — Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s coronavirus epidemic, is making plan to reopen its main airport in late March, indicating a tentative lifting of quarantine as new infections in the city continue to fall.

Wuhan Tianhe International Airport was one of China’s biggest air terminals in terms of passenger traffic until it was closed due to virus in late January, when the city quarantined its 11 million residents in a lockdown of unprecedented scale.

The travel ban is expected to end, however, with the number of new confirmed cases in Wuhan having fallen to single digits for the first time in over a month.

“We have been making preparations for a tentative reopening of the airport later this month, somewhere after March 20,” a senior airport manager told The Washington Post on Thursday, declining to give his name because he wasn’t permitted to speak publicly. About one-fifth of airport staff have returned to work.

“We don’t have any concrete dates yet and are still waiting for further instructions from the city and the provincial governments,” he said.

The earliest flight available is one departing from Wuhan to Qingdao at 10:40 a.m. on March 29, run by low-cost carrier Beijing Capital Airlines — a subsidiary of the government-owned Hainan Airlines, according to a search by The Post on major flight booking sites including Ctrip and Alibaba-owned Fliggy.

Passengers from Wuhan could also take connecting flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and several other cities.

“The airport will make relevant arrangements and make the dates public as soon as we receive a notice from government authorities,” the airport manager said.

Beijing Capital Airlines told Chinese media that March 29 remains a “tentative” date and would be subject to adjustments in accordance with the development of the epidemic.

The airport in Wuhan and those serving the wider Hubei province have been asked to get ready by next Monday for government assessment. A document issued by the Hubei Airports Group shows that the preparations in Wuhan kicked off on Tuesday.

Earlier this week, a health expert with the country’s top panel on tackling the outbreak told the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily that Wuhan will likely see new infections drop to zero by the end of this month.

The number of new confirmed cases in China outside Hubei has remained in single digits for two weeks, with eight new infections recorded in Wuhan on Wednesday and seven elsewhere, according to the country’s National Health Commission.

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