China’s largest city has been almost completely locked down since April, when it became the epicenter of the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak since the first day of the epidemic.
Unlike other major economies, Beijing has dug up a rigid zero-cavid approach that relies on stamping out clusters as they emerge, although this has become increasingly difficult with the infectious omikron variant.
But as the pace of new infections slowed, Shanghai cautiously relaxed restrictions, reopened some factories and allowed residents of low-risk areas to move out.
Four of the city’s 20 subway lines reopened on Sunday with some road transport, officials announced last week that it would provide a “basic network covering all central urban areas”.
Those traveling on public transport must show a negative covid test within 48 hours of travel and have a “normal temperature”, they added on Saturday.
Shanghai will classify areas as high, medium or low-risk after May 31, city health official Zhao Dandan said in a press briefing on Sunday.
Districts with 10 or more reported covid cases – or at least two community infections – will be considered “high-risk” while areas with no positive cases for 14 days will be considered “low-risk”, Zhao said.
Moderate or high-risk areas face a two-week lockdown.
The new system seems to pave the way for a degree movement compared to other cities, a change from the difficult current system where even residents of low-risk areas face stricter restrictions.
But despite extensive efforts to ease the restrictions, the city’s central Jinggan district was under lockdown on Sunday, according to an official statement.
Jinggan will go through a three-point mass covid test from Sunday and residents will not leave their homes during this time, a WeChat release said.
“Exit permits will be suspended,” the notice added Saturday, assuring residents that “victory is not too far away.”
According to the National Health Commission, the city of 25 million inhabitants reported more than 600 covid cases on Sunday, of which 570 were asymptomatic.
However, restrictions continue in other Chinese cities, including the capital Beijing, including the Cowid case, which has already banned dining and forced millions to work from home.
As of Saturday, about 5,000 people from the Nanjinuan residential compound in Beijing had been relocated to quarantine hotels after 26 new infections were discovered in recent days, state media reported.
There are growing fears that the city could adopt a similar approach to Shanghai, where the lockdown has denied adequate access to many food and medical care.