© Reuters. Workers wearing protective suits rest on the street during lockdown, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Shanghai, China, May 28, 2022. REUTERS / Aly Song
By Emily Chow and Roxanne Liu
SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) – Shanghai on Sunday announced next steps towards a return to more normal life and the lifting of its two-month COVID-19 lockdown this week, while North Beijing reopened parts of public transport, some malls, gyms and other locations due to stable infections.
China’s 25 million-strong commercial hub will essentially end on Wednesday, a shutdown that has severely damaged the economy and seen many Shanghai residents lose income, right. Struggling to find food and cope with prolonged mental isolation.
The painful waves of coronavirus restrictions in major Chinese cities go against trends seen in the rest of the world, which have largely been towards coexisting with the virus even as the infection spreads. orchid.
City government spokesman Yin Xin said Shanghai, China’s most populous city, will ease screening requirements from Wednesday for people wanting to enter public areas.
“The current epidemic situation in the city continues to stabilize and improve,” Yin said, adding that Shanghai’s strategy is now “towards normalization prevention and control.”
People entering public places or taking public transport will have to present a negative PCR test done within 72 hours, compared with 48 hours before.
Bus services in the Pudong New District, home to Shanghai’s largest airport and the main financial district, will fully resume on Monday, officials said.
Plaza 66, an upscale shopping mall in central Shanghai that showcases Louis Vuitton and other luxury brands, reopened on Sunday.
Authorities are slowly easing curbs, focusing on resuming production.
Many people have been allowed to leave their apartments and many businesses have been allowed to reopen, although many residents are still largely confined to their residences and most shops have limited deliveries. row.
Authorities approved 240 financial institutions in the city to reopen from Wednesday, Shanghai Securities News reported on Sunday, adding to a list of 864 companies released earlier this month. That’s among Shanghai’s roughly 1,700 financial firms.
The newspaper said on Saturday that more than 10,000 bankers and merchants who have been living and working in their offices since the beginning of the closure have gradually returned home.
Shanghai has allowed key manufacturers in the automotive, life sciences, chemicals and semiconductor industries to resume production since the end of April.
GYMS AND LIBRARY
In the capital Beijing, libraries, museums, theaters and gyms were allowed to reopen on Sunday, with limited numbers of people, in districts with no community COVID cases in the past week. seven consecutive days.
Fangshan and Shunyi counties will end the work-from-home rule, while public transport will largely resume in the two counties as well as Chaoyang, the city’s largest district. However, eating in restaurants is still banned citywide.
Shanghai reported just over 100 daily COVID cases on Sunday, while Beijing recorded 21, both reflecting a nationwide downward trend.
China’s economy showed signs of a heart-pounding recovery this month after April’s plunge, but activity levels were weaker than last year and many analysts expect a contraction in the second quarter.
The strength and sustainability of any recovery will depend largely on COVID, with the highly infectious variant of Omicron proving to be difficult to eradicate and prone to relapse.
Investors have worried about the lack of a roadmap to exit the zero-COVID strategy aimed at ending all outbreaks at all costs, a policy signed by President Xi Jinping. He is expected to secure an unprecedented third term of leadership at the ruling Communist Party’s congress in the fall.
The market expects more supportive policies for the economy.
Goldman Sachs (NYSE:) analysts wrote in a note on Friday: “We expect further policy easing on the fiscal front to boost demand, in the face of downward pressure on with growth and uncertainty about the pace of recovery”.