Today's Paper News Sports Features Business Opinion LEARNS Guide Newsletters Obits Games Archive Notices Core Values

Shanghai moves closer to reopening

Lockdown-lifting steps to bring city, economy, back to normal start today by The Associated Press | June 1, 2022 at 4:34 a.m.
Employees wearing face masks wait to have their COVID-19 test results checked to enter an office building in the central business district in Beijing, Tuesday, May 31, 2022. Shanghai authorities say they will take some major steps Wednesday toward reopening China's largest city after a two-month COVID-19 lockdown that has throttled the national economy and largely bottled up millions of people in their homes. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

SHANGHAI -- Shanghai authorities say they will take major steps today toward reopening China's largest city after a two-month covid-19 lockdown that has set back the national economy and largely confined millions of people to their homes.

Vice Mayor Zong Ming announced that full bus and subway service will be restored today, as will basic rail connections with the rest of China. Schools will partially reopen on a voluntary basis, and shopping malls, supermarkets, convenience stores and drug stores will reopen gradually at no more than 75% of their total capacity. Cinemas and gyms will remain closed.

"The epidemic has been effectively controlled," Zong said.

Officials, who set today as the target date for reopening earlier in May, appear ready 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 out for a few hours at a time. Workers took down some of the barriers that had been erected along sidewalks during the lockdown.

More than half a million people won't be allowed out today -- 190,000 who are still in lockdown areas and another 450,000 who are in control zones because they live near recent cases. Shanghai recorded 29 new cases on Monday, continuing a steady decline from more than 20,000 a day in April.

The city had made major achievements in fighting the outbreak through continuous struggle, Li Qiang, the top official from China's ruling Communist Party in Shanghai, was quoted as saying at a meeting Monday. The success came at a price.

Authorities imposed a citywide lockdown under China's "zero-covid" strategy that aims to snuff out any outbreak with mass testing and isolation at centralized facilities of anyone who is infected.

Temporary facilities were set up in exhibition centers and other venues to house thousands of people who had tested positive. Teams of health care and other workers flew in from around the country to help run the massive undertaking.

Factories were shuttered or were allowed to operate only if workers slept on site to prevent the spread of the virus.

Through it all, leaders of the ruling Communist Party repeatedly expressed a determination to stick to the "zero-covid" policy even as other countries have opened their borders and are trying to "live with the virus."

Outside economists widely expect China to fall short of its 5.5% growth target for this year. However, the latest economic data showed that Chinese manufacturing activity started to rebound in May as the government rolled back some containment measures.

Schools will reopen for the final two years of high school and the third year of middle school, but students can decide whether to attend in person. Other grades and kindergarten remain closed.

Outdoor tourist sites will start reopening today, with indoor sites set to follow in late June, the Shanghai tourism authority said. Group tours from other provinces will be allowed again when the city has eliminated all high- and medium-risk pandemic zones.

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

Information for this article was contributed by Si Chen and Yu Bing of The Associated Press.

Print Headline: Shanghai moves closer to reopening


Sponsor Content