Shanghai has reported new COVID-19 cases outside the quarantine area for the first time after five days of no infection, prompting a strict ban in one district, but plans to end the June 1 long city-wide lockdown appear to be on track.
The 25-million-dollar commercial center May 19 found three new cases outside a district quarantine area. Infections have also increased in strictly controlled areas.
All three, from the same family, took three doses of the vaccine and were diagnosed with the infection during routine testing in Kingpu District, authorities said.
They have not left the district’s Jujing Town for the past 14 days, but have recently visited at least four places, including a supermarket, all of which are now closed to the public and are being sterilized, authorities added.
More than 200,000 people in the city were re-examined and all results were negative, authorities said.
“Our district will follow precise prevention and control measures, do a good job in preventing and controlling the epidemic and achieve dynamic clearing as soon as possible,” Zhang Yan, deputy head of Qingpu District, told an online news conference.
City officials said the parks would reopen in the Shanghai suburb from Sunday, while other parks could do so from June if they meet certain conditions. However, any leisure facilities inside the park will be closed.
A plan to reopen four metro lines from Sunday is also on track, the city government said.
Shanghai has been allowing more and more people to leave their homes in recent days, with many residential compounds issuing limited numbers of passes to residents for short walks or trips to local supermarkets. Still, most are stuck indoors, relying on delivery apps and official rations.
The almost complete closure of Shanghai and the strict measures in other cities are the result of a national “zero-covid” policy that ends all outbreaks, as opposed to the resumption of normal life in the rest of the world.
Beijing, home to 22 million people, reported 62 new COVID-19 infections on May 19, up from 55 a day earlier.
The Chinese capital has struggled to end an outbreak despite significant restrictions on the movement since late April, with many Beijing residents working from home and various shops and venues closed.
But instead of exploding like Shanghai and other major cities in the world, the daily caseload remained at a few dozen.
The COVID-19 situation in China is greatly improving.
Analysts at Gravecal Dragonmix estimate that less than 5 percent of Chinese cities are now reporting the infection, down from less than a quarter in late March.
To keep the situation stable, many city authorities set up local boundary controls, conducting frequent mass checks and surveillance, and isolating any new infections, including individual building lockdowns.
“This new norm will allow production supply chains to gradually resume normal operations, but will continue to weigh on usage, the service sector and small businesses,” Gavekal analysts wrote in a note.
After the April recession, there are signs that the economy is responding positively to loose control in May.
The daily container throughput at the port of Shanghai has almost fully recovered to the level seen last year, while air cargo throughput and freight traffic has risen to about two-thirds of the 2021 volume.
Although still 21 percent lower than last year, retail car sales in the first half of May rose 27 percent from the same period in April, data showed this week.
Policymakers have promised more fiscal and monetary stimulus to help the economy.
China lowered its benchmark reference rate for mortgages to the expected-expected gap in its May fixing on Friday, a second decline this year, as Beijing seeks to revive credit demand to boost the economy.
Premier Li Keqiang quoted state media this week as saying that China’s policy has a place in tackling the challenge.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)