China’s Shanghai metropolis is slowly reopening after a two-month hiatus from the Kowid-19 lockdown, as Beijing officials prepare to ease control in parts of the capital, the outbreak is under control on Saturday.
Shanghai aims to end its lockdown on Wednesday after easing restrictions last week.
More people have been allowed out of their homes, and more businesses have been allowed to reopen, although most residents are primarily confined to their housing compounds, with stores primarily limited to delivery.
Shanghai officials have called for continued vigilance, although most of its 25 million inhabitants live in areas that are in the least risky “prevention” section.
“Wear a mask in public, do not hold any gatherings and maintain social distance,” Zhao Dandan, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission, told a daily news conference.
The video on social media showed several foreigners, including foreigners, drinking and dancing on the streets in a central area of the city on Friday night before being stopped by police and told to go home.
Another video shows a group on the street singing an emotional 1985 pop song called “Tomorrow will be better” with a keyboard player. Police were seen coming and allowing the song to end before people were told to go home, praising officers online for restraint.
The two-month lockdown in China’s largest and most cosmopolitan city has left residents frustrated and angry, with thousands of people often segregated in crowded central amenities.
Many of them struggled to get adequate food or medical care during the first week of the lockdown.
In Beijing, new cases have been trending lower for six days, with no new infections reported outside the quarantine area on Friday.
The outbreak, which began April 22, is “effectively under control,” a city government spokesman told a news conference.
Beginning Sunday, eight of Beijing’s 16 districts will be allowed to reopen shopping malls, libraries, museums, theaters and gyms with population limitations that have not seen a community case for seven days in a row.
The two districts will end work rules from home, while public transport in all three districts, including the city’s largest Chawang, will be largely reopened. Nevertheless, restaurant food is banned throughout the city.
While the number of cases nationwide is improving, China’s strict adherence to the “zero-covid” strategy has destroyed the world’s second-largest economy and disrupted global supply chains.
Investors are concerned about the lack of a roadmap for exiting the policy signed by President Xi Jinping.
The economic impact was evident in Friday’s data, when April profits in industrial companies fell 8.5% year-on-year, the biggest fall in two years.
China’s approach, which the government says is necessary to save lives and prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed, has been challenged by the hard-to-contain Omicron variant.
The conflict between defeating Kovid’s expansion and supporting the economy comes in a politically sensitive year, with the ruling Communist Party expected to secure an unprecedented third term in Congress in the autumn.
During an emergency meeting on Wednesday, Premier Li Keqiang acknowledged the weak growth and said that the economic woes were worse in some respects than in 2020 when China was initially attacked by COVID-19. His remarks sparked market expectations for further economic support.
On Friday, Fengxian District, a suburb of Shanghai, revoked the condition of having a pass for residents to leave.
State-run Shanghai Securities News reported decent steps towards a return to normalcy in the financial sector, with more than 10,000 bankers and businessmen living and working in their offices slowly returning home since the lockdown began.
The country received 362 coronavirus cases a day on Saturday, down from 444 a day earlier. In Beijing, Friday’s new infection dropped from 29 to 24.
When Shanghai officials reported a community-level case in Songjiang District, they expressed confidence in the steps they are taking to identify and control the infection chain.
Sun Xiaodong, deputy director of the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “If these measures are implemented effectively, we can prevent the return of the epidemic, even if it is sporadic, so don’t worry.”
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)