Hainan Airlines plane
© Thomas Peter / Reuters
A Hainan Airlines plane taxies at Beijing Capital International in Beijing, China, March 13, 2020.
Beijing has allowed civilian air travel in its Hubei region, where the Covid-19 outbreak originally began, after a strict lockdown was lifted in all of its major cities except for Wuhan.

The first domestic passenger flight took off at midnight on Sunday as all cities in China's central Hubei Province, with the exception for Wuhan, resumed regular civilian air travel, local media reported. Officials earlier said that airports in the major cities of Xiangyang, Enshi and Shennongjia - all of which had been quarantined in January - are among those to reopen for domestic flights this week.

Wuhan's Tianhe Airport will start passenger flights from midnight on April 8, when the quarantine is expected to be lifted from the city. Wuhan was the original epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, which prompted Beijing to enforce a strict lockdown in the area.

The number of new Covid-19 cases has since dropped significantly in Hubei as authorities began to gradually ease travel restrictions and prepare the cities for the resumption of normal life.

More than 81,300 Covid-19 cases have been recorded in mainland China, with over 3,200 deaths.