Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Shanghai to lift Covid-19 lockdown from Tomorrow


SHANGHAI: Shanghai authorities on Tuesday began dismantling fences around housing compounds and ripping police tape off public squares and buildings before the lifting of a two-month lockdown in China’s largest city at midnight.

On Monday evening, some people allowed out of their compounds for brief walks took advantage of suspended traffic to congregate for a beer and ice cream on deserted streets. But there was a sense of wariness and anxiety among residents.

Most will be stuck indoors again until midnight as they have been for the past two months under a strictly enforced lockdown that has caused income losses and stress and despair to people struggling to access food or get emergency healthcare.

The prolonged isolation has fuelled public anger and rare protests inside the city of 25 million people and battered its manufacturing and export-heavy economy, disrupted supply chains in China and around the world, and slowed international trade.

Life is set to return to something more like normal from Wednesday, when the passes issued by residential buildings for people to go out for a few hours will be scrapped, public transport will resume and residents can go back to work.

“This is a day that we dreamed of for a very long time,” Shanghai government spokeswoman Yin Xin told reporters.

“Everyone has sacrificed a lot. This day has been hard-won, and we need to cherish and protect it, and welcome back the Shanghai we are familiar with and missed.”

Curbs will ease for about 22.5 million people in low-risk areas. Residents will still have to wear masks and avoid gatherings. Dining inside restaurants remains banned. Shops can operate at 75% capacity. Gyms will reopen later.

Residents will have to test every 72 hours to take public transport and enter public venues. Tough quarantine is still in store for anyone catching COVID and their close contacts.


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