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Covid: Shanghai promises Monday reopening, Beijing continues to fight outbreak

by thesquadron.in
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BEIJING: China’s financial hub Shanghai is poised to reopen businesses such as supermarkets, pharmacies and hair salons from Monday after weeks in a draining Covid-19 lockdown even as Beijing continues to fight a persistent outbreak that has kept millions at home with the city government extending work for home directive to more districts on Sunday.

“Commercial outlets such as shopping malls, department stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies will gradually resume in-store operations in an orderly manner, while vegetable markets and hair salons will gradually resume on-site business with limited capacity,” Chen Tong, deputy mayor of Shanghai, was quoted by official news agency, Xinhua, on Sunday.

“The number of commercial outlets operating in the metropolis has increased from the lowest point of less than 1,400 to 10,625, with daily delivery orders hitting five million,” Chen said.

Shanghai seems to be in the last stages of its fight against the worst Covid-19 outbreak in China, which saw hundreds of thousands of cases and over 560 deaths since March.

The strict curbs for weeks exhausted, and angered, many of its 25 million residents.

Many Shanghai residents through these past weeks have only been able to buy essentials online without being allowed to step out of their homes for weeks.

Not everybody is sure about the city opening up though.

“Who are you lying to? We can’t even go out of our compound. You can open up, no one can go,” Reuters quoted a user of China’s Twitter-like Weibo saying.

In Beijing, Fangshan district, home to some 1.3 million people, was effectively locked down from Saturday after several cluster outbreaks related to a bank, a railway construction company, a bus station and restaurants were reported.

The district has begun to “strictly implement” the work-from-home rule and, like in Chaoyang district, the most populous in Beijing, suspended all bus, subway and car-hailing services.

Beijing has reported 1,074 Covid-19 cases since April 22, city authorities said on Sunday, adding that 55 new cases -10 of which were reported from outside areas under quarantine – were found until 3pm on Sunday.

City authorities have said the aim is to isolate all new cases in quarantine zones, and reduce community transmissions to zero.

The local government on Sunday announced another three rounds of nucleic acid tests for the majority of the city’s 22 million residents starting from Monday.

“Nucleic acid screening of key populations should be done to ensure that no one is missed,” city government spokesperson, Xu Hejian said on Sunday.

At least four districts among the 16 in the capital are now under “work from home” orders, which also means public transport and taxi services remain suspended in these areas, effectively putting them under a semi-lockdown situation.



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