Shanghai begins removing fences before COVID lockdown ends | Coronavirus pandemic news

As Shanghai prepares to lift its two-month blockade at midnight (16:00 GMT), authorities in Shanghai have begun dismantling fences around residential areas and ripping off police tape from public squares and buildings.

The ruthlessly imposed restrictions have left the city’s 25 million people desperate, with many struggling to get food or seek emergency medical care.

they also have sparked public outrage A rare protest within Shanghai has battered the city’s manufacturing and export-heavy economy, disrupting supply chains in China and around the world.

Life will return to a more normal state from Wednesday, when passes needed for people to go out for a few hours will be lifted, public transport will resume and residents will be encouraged to return to work.

“Now that I’m suddenly going back to work, I’m a little nervous,” said resident Joseph Mak, who works in education. “It’s hard to believe it actually happened.”

The easing of restrictions only applies to people in low-risk areas, or about 22.5 million people. Residents are still required to wear masks, and group gatherings are discouraged.

Dining in restaurants will also continue to be banned, while shops will be allowed to operate at 75% capacity.

Residents must be tested for COVID-19 every 72 hours before entering public spaces on public transport, and those who test positive and their close contacts remain in strict quarantine.

China is the only one that enforces uncompromising “Zero corona virus“A policy aimed at eliminating all outbreaks at any cost as soon as they occur.

The highly transmissible Omicron variant could easily make a comeback, and it remains to be seen whether frequent testing can control it.

different life

Todd Pearson, managing director of Camel Hotel Group, which operates eight restaurants, four bars and three gyms in Shanghai and neighboring Suzhou, is cautious.

His restaurant only allows takeout, which is equivalent to about 5% of income, not enough to cover wages and rent. Workers who have been sleeping in the restaurant since at least midnight can finally go home due to strict lockdown rules.

“I hope they move quickly to reopen the economy,” Pearson said. “I just hope it doesn’t come at the cost of more outbreaks. I’m not sure many businesses or people can handle more.”

Shanghai reported 31 cases on May 30, down from 67 a day earlier, all within the control area. Cases are trending downward in many other Chinese cities, with daily new infections across the country falling from 184 to 174.

Other countries have decided to live with the virus even as infections spread, with thousands of new cases reported every day.

Once Shanghai lifts its lockdown, life in the city will still be very different compared to those places.

Some bank staff said they would be required to wear full protective suits and face shields when facing the public starting Wednesday.

A bank worker surnamed Qin said he would bring some basic supplies to work in case a colleague tested positive and asked employees to quarantine in the office.

“I need to pack some clothes and supplies and leave the office. Just in case,” Qin said.

The lockdown sparked rare protests, with people sometimes banging pots and pans outside their windows to express their dissatisfaction with the strict measures, with many sharing on social media frustrating interactions with authorities and other individuals stemming from the restrictions drama.

The public outrage comes amid a sensitive year for President Xi Jinping, who is widely expected to secure a precedent-breaking third term in leadership this fall.

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