Shanghai set to end 2-month COVID-19 lockdown

BEIJING (AP) — Authorities in Shanghai announced on Wednesday they would take major steps to reopen China’s largest city after a two-month COVID-19 lockdown that strangled the national economy and largely locked down people. million people in their homes.

Full bus and subway service will be restored, as will basic rail connections to the rest of China, Vice Mayor Zong Ming said at a daily press briefing on the city’s outbreak on Tuesday.

Schools will partially reopen on a voluntary basis for students and malls, supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies will continue to reopen gradually with no more than 75% of full capacity. Cinemas and sports halls will remain closed.

Officials, who set June 1 as a target date for a reopening earlier in May, seem set to accelerate what has been a gradual easing in recent days. A few malls and markets have reopened and some residents have been given passes allowing them to go out for a few hours at a time. In at least some focus groups, cynicism about the slow and intermittent nature of the opening gave way on Tuesday to enthusiasm about being able to move freely. in the city for the first time since the end of March.

Shanghai recorded 29 new cases on Monday, continuing a steady decline from more than 20,000 a day in April. Li Qiang, senior official of the ruling Chinese Communist Party in Shanghai, at a meeting on Monday, reportedly said the city has made major progress in fighting the epidemic through continuous struggle.

Success had a price. Authorities have imposed a suffocating citywide lockdown as part of China’s “zero-COVID” strategy that aims to snuff out any outbreak with mass testing and isolation in centralized facilities of anyone infected.

Schools will reopen for the last two years of high school and the third year of middle school, but students can decide to attend in person. The other classes and kindergarten remain closed.

Beijing, the national capital, further eased restrictions in some districts on Tuesday. The city has imposed limited lockdowns, but nothing near a citywide level, in a much smaller outbreak that appears to be on the decline. Beijing recorded 18 new cases on Monday.

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