Covid restrictions:Shanghai lockdown China eases Covid restrictions after two months

The Chinese city of Shanghai, the country’s economic centre and a global trade hub, has eased Covid curbs after a two-month lockdown.


At midnight local time (16:00 GMT Tuesday), restrictions were relaxed to allow most people to move freely around the city of some 25 million people.

But at least 650,000 residents will remain confined to their homes.

China’s overall policy of “zero Covid” remains in place and people catching Covid face quarantine or hospital.

Their close contacts also face the prospect of removal to quarantine and the area immediately around where they live being locked down again.

“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.”

E-commerce professional Chen Ying was planning to work from home after the lockdown was eased, but she told AFP news agency she might treat her two-year-old son to a long-awaited walk outside.

“We should have been free to begin with, so don’t expect me to be deeply grateful now they’ve given it back to us,” she added.

Lockdown has seen many residents lose income, struggle to find enough food and cope mentally with prolonged isolation.

Manufacturers including Western car makers Volkswagen and Tesla have been particularly impacted by the restrictions as staff were kept away from factories or had to work in “closed loop” conditions, where they lived at the plants.

On Wednesday a basic service will resume on public transport and shops will open with larger ones operating at 75% capacity, but cinemas, museums and gyms will remain closed.

Most children will not return to face-to-face schooling.

There are new rules too:

All residents will be required to show a green health code on their smartphone to leave their home compounds or buildings and access most places

All residents wishing to move around the city on public transport and access banks, malls etc will be required to have a negative PCR test certificate valid in the last 72 hours

And restrictions on leaving Shanghai remain, with any resident travelling to another city facing quarantine of 7-14 days on arrival.

The city has a 50-point plan aimed at revitalising its economy, which before the lockdown was worth more than $600bn (£475bn).

New measures include reducing some taxes for car buyers, speeding up the issuance of local government bonds and fast-tracking approvals of building projects.
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