April 8 (UPI) -- China may have lifted a state-imposed lockdown on the city of Wuhan, but outbound travelers from what was the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak are facing severe limitations on their movements within China.
Chinese news service Pengpai reported Wednesday major cities, including Beijing and Shenzhen, are conducting coronavirus tests for travelers from Wuhan.
In Beijing, the seat of power for the Chinese Communist Party, travelers from Wuhan are not allowed into the city unless they test negative for COVID-19, according to reports.
The Chinese capital also requires people from Wuhan to quarantine and undergo a second test. A negative test result does not change isolation requirements. All individuals must be quarantined for two weeks for "medical observation," Chinese media reports.
Shenzhen, an important economic hub in southern China near Hong Kong, is also requiring Wuhan residents undergo two COVID-19 tests.
The precautionary measures are taking place even as China has claimed on state media the country has beaten the coronavirus and the situation has stabilized. Beijing says there have been a total of 81,802 cases since January.
China could be concealing the real number of infections, particularly in sectors where the state exerts strong control.
Carl Schuster, a retired U.S. Navy captain and former director at the U.S. Pacific Command's Joint Intelligence Center, said China's military enjoys an advantage in controlling, or hiding, the number of infections in its navy, CNN reported Tuesday.
China may also have been taking advantage of the global health crisis to flex its muscles in the South China Sea.
Chinese forces sank a Vietnamese fishing boat near the Paracel Islands last Thursday, in an area where both countries claim sovereignty.
"We call on the PRC to remain focused on supporting international efforts to combat the global pandemic, and to stop exploiting the distraction or vulnerability of other states to expand its unlawful claims in the South China Sea," the U.S. State Department said in statement on Monday.