Shanghai / Beijing:
Shanghai on Sunday announced further steps towards a return to normal life and lifting the two-month COVID-19 lockdown this week, as Beijing reopened parts of its public transport, some malls, gyms and other locations as the infection stabilized.
The 25-million-strong Chinese business center aims to end a lockdown since Wednesday that has severely damaged the economy and seen many Shanghai residents struggle to find income, struggle for food resources and cope with prolonged isolation.
Painful coronavirus controls in major Chinese cities run counter to the trend seen in other parts of the world, which has moved toward co-occurrence with the virus even after the infection has spread.
Shanghai, China’s most populous city, will ease testing requirements for those who want to enter public areas from Wednesday, city government spokesman Yin Jin said, adding that the changes should encourage work to resume.
“The current epidemic situation in the city is stable and continues to improve,” Yin said, adding that Shanghai’s strategy is now “moving towards normal prevention and control.”
Those entering a public venue or traveling on public transport must show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours, compared to the previous 48 hours.
Bus services between Pudong New Area, Shanghai’s largest airport and the main financial district’s residence, will be fully resumed by Monday, officials said.
Plaza 66, a high-end mall in central Shanghai that hosts Louis Vuitton and other luxury brands, reopened on Sunday.
Authorities are gradually easing sanctions, focusing on resuming production.
More people have been allowed to leave their flats, and more businesses have been allowed to reopen, although many residents are confined to their housing compounds and most are confined to store supplies.
Authorities approved 240 financial institutions in the city to reopen on Wednesday, state-run Shanghai Securities News reported on Sunday, adding to the list of 864 institutions published earlier this month. It is out of about 1,700 financial institutions in Shanghai.
The Saturday newspaper reported that more than 10,000 bankers and businessmen who have been living and working in their offices since the lockdown began are slowly returning home.
Shanghai has already allowed the main manufacturers of auto industry, life sciences, chemicals and semiconductors to resume production by the end of April.
James and the Library
In the capital, Beijing, libraries, museums, theaters and gyms were allowed to reopen on Sunday, due to limited population, in districts that have not seen any community coward incidents for seven days in a row.
The Fangshan and Shunyi districts will end the rules for working from home, while public transport will be reintroduced to the two districts as well as the city’s largest Chawang. Nevertheless, restaurant food is banned throughout the city.
Shanghai reported only 100 daily COVID cases on Sunday, while Beijing recorded 21, both reflecting a nationwide downturn.
China’s economy has shown signs of recovering this month after the April recession, but activity levels are weaker than last year and many analysts expect a second-quarter contraction.
The strength and durability of any recovery will largely depend on Kovid, a highly contagious omikron variant that is difficult to eliminate and risk a return.
Investors are concerned about the policy signed by President Xi Jinping, the lack of a roadmap to get out of the zero-quad strategy to end all outbreaks at any cost. He is expected to secure an unprecedented third term in office at the ruling Communist Party Congress in the fall.
The market expects more policy support for the economy.
“We expect that policies on the financial front will be easier to increase demand due to the downward pressure of growth and the uncertainty of the pace of recovery,” Goldman Sachs analysts wrote in a note on Friday.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)