Covid-hit Shanghai announces gradual reopening of businesses

Bol News  |  May 15, 2022

Shanghai has declared a gradual reopening of enterprises beginning Monday, though it is unclear when the millions of people trapped in China’s economic metropolis will be allowed to leave their homes.

Faced with the greatest Covid-19 epidemic since the outbreak began, China — the last major economy remaining closed to the rest of the globe — imposed severe restrictions on the city of 25 million people in early April.

The zealous pursuit of viral cases at any cost has disrupted supply lines, decimated small firms, and jeopardized the country’s economic goals.

For many Shanghai residents, some of whom were already confined to their homes even before April, the frustrations have included problems with food supplies, access to non-Covid medical care, and spartan quarantine centers, and many are venting their anger online.

Shanghai deputy mayor Chen Tong declared on Sunday that companies will reopen “in stages” starting May 16.

Chen did not say if he meant a gradual restart of activities in the city or whether it was contingent on particular health requirements.

Any relaxation of restrictions under China’s zero-Covid approach is usually conditioned on observing no new positive cases outside of quarantine centers for three days.

By mid-May, Shanghai authorities hoped to achieve this target.

Infections appear to be decreasing, with 1,369 new cases reported in Shanghai on Sunday, compared to over 25,000 at the end of April.

However, limitations have been increased in several parts of the city in recent days.

Some 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) north, residents of Beijing fear they could face a similar lockdown after more than a thousand cases were recorded in the capital since the end of April.

Beijing has regularly put its citizens to the test, locking down buildings with positive results and closing metro stations and non-essential businesses in particular areas.

In an effort to contain the spread, the 1.3 million-strong Fangshan district in southwest Beijing has banned cab services as of Saturday.

Apart from a few restricted areas, the great majority of Beijing’s 22 million residents are still free to leave their homes.

However, many public venues remain closed, forcing individuals to work from home, particularly in the densely populated Chaoyang neighborhood, which is home to numerous international corporations.

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