China announced Tuesday an end to travel curbs at the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, as governments around the world tightened lockdowns affecting 1.7 billion people in a desperate effort to slow the spread of the deadly disease.
Hubei province, where the novel coronavirus emerged late last year, will allow healthy residents to travel from midnight, officials said, two months after they were ordered to stay indoors.
The relaxation of rules, which will not apply to the hardest-hit city of Wuhan until April 8, comes as Britain and New Zealand joined nations in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Asia in declaring countrywide lockdowns in a bid to staunch the flow of new infections.
The extraordinary measures around the world continued to throw up horrifying tales; soldiers in Spain tasked with fighting the outbreak reported finding abandoned elderly people — some dead — at retirement homes.
And on the deserted streets of New York, one psychologist who ventured out voiced fears over the long-term mental health of everyone affected.
“I’m scared for me and patients that this could go on” for months, said Lauren, who declined to give her surname.
Anxiety and depression “all gets heightened at a time like this,” she added.
The financial impact of economies grinding to a halt continued to unnerve policymakers, who opened the spigots and flooded the…