Home International Containment in Shanghai: the city lifts new restrictions

Containment in Shanghai: the city lifts new restrictions

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Shanghai announced on Tuesday a further easing of anti-Covid restrictions for this week, a further step towards lifting the containment which has lasted for two months, infuriates the 25 million inhabitants and strangles the economy.

Shanghai announced on Tuesday a further easing of anti-Covid restrictions for this week, a further step towards lifting the containment which has lasted for two months, infuriates the 25 million inhabitants and strangles the economy.

Zero Covid policy in China

China’s economic capital was locked down in stages from the end of March in response to a nationwide outbreak, the worst since the start of the pandemic in late 2019. Unlike many countries, China continues to apply a zero Covid strategy, which consists in particular of imposing quarantines and confinements as soon as cases appear in order to avoid deaths.

After already easing several restrictions in recent weeks, the town hall said on Tuesday that residents of areas deemed to be low risk will be allowed to move freely in the city from Wednesday.

This important step towards the end of the containment will apply to about 22 million people, told the press Zong Ming, one of the deputy mayors of Shanghai. From midnight Wednesday (4:00 p.m. GMT Tuesday), “the city will enter the third phase (of deconfinement), with a complete return to normal” and nevertheless progressive, she indicated.

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Shopping malls, convenience stores, pharmacies and beauty salons will be able to operate at 75 percent capacity, Zong said. Sports halls and cinemas will remain closed and the reopening of schools will be done on a case-by-case basis.

A Shanghai resident employed in e-commerce, Chen Ying, told AFP that she will continue to work from home, but plans to take her 2-year-old son for a walk outside on Wednesday.

“Basically, we should have been free to move from the start, so don’t expect me to be super grateful now that they’re giving us back our freedom,” she says. Shanghai media released photos on Tuesday of officers removing some of the barriers that had been blocking neighborhoods in the city for weeks.

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Only 31 new positive cases in Shanghai

One resident, Anita Xu, however, said she was puzzled by the lifting of the restrictions. “Even if you can go out, you don’t know exactly what you can or cannot do,” explains the 32-year-old woman who works in marketing. I’m a bit caught off guard.” Until then, people could usually only go out for a few hours a day at best, provided they were in a neighborhood with no positive cases.

Taxis and private cars will a priori be able to circulate again on the roads in the so-called “low risk” areas on Wednesday. Public transport must also resume. People who live in areas considered “high risk” will still be subject to travel restrictions.

The health ministry reported 31 new positive cases in Shanghai on Tuesday, up from more than 25,000 at the end of last month. The shutdown of the city, the most populous in China, has weakened the economy, penalized production, limited consumption and severely disrupted supply chains.

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