A police officer takes the temperature of a driver at a checkpoint on a street on the outskirts of Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on January 27, 2020, amid a deadly virus outbreak which began in the city. China on January 27 extended its biggest national holiday to buy time in the fight against a viral epidemic and neighbouring Mongolia closed its border, after the death toll spiked to 81 despite unprecedented quarantine measures. Image Credit: AFP

Beijing: Non-residents of Wuhan may leave the quarantined city at the epicentre of China's virus epidemic if they show no symptoms and have never had contact with patients, authorities said Monday.

Wuhan, a city of 11 million, has been under lockdown since January 23 after authorities shut down transport links into and out of the city in an effort to contain the new coronavirus outbreak.

Non-residents may leave if they show no symptoms of the new coronavirus and have never had contact with patients, the city said in a statement.

People with special reasons to leave the city including those who need treatment for other medical conditions and those doing epidemic prevention work may also leave Wuhan, the statement said.

Departures must be staggered and people must apply for permission from local authorities before leaving.

Cars leaving the city must not carry more than two people, including the driver, at a time, the city said.

Once travellers have reached their destinations outside of Wuhan, they must report themselves to local authorities and monitor their health for 14 days, the city said.

The epidemic's spread has slowed down in China outside of Hubei province, which Wuhan is the capital of, with multiple provinces have reported zero new infections for several days in a row.

Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated late last year, continues to account for the majority of new cases and deaths in the country.