Shanghai: the slow start of an endless lockdown


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Supermarkets, some shops and malls will open next week. Rest of the restrictions will be relaxed throughout June

People wearing protective suits unload boxes from a truck in Shanghai.
People wearing protective suits unload boxes from a truck in Shanghai.Hector RitamaliAFP
  • Diplomacy and Geopolitics Explanation of Chinese policy of ‘Covid Zero’

back to normal. At least something close to it. The petition of more than 2.5 crore people locked in their homes has finally been heard. Starting in June, Shanghai will gradually reopen its doors, after more than six weeks of strict confinement.

From a peak of about 28,000 daily infections to less than a thousand cases. which led There is already a date in the reopening plan. Not all at once, but in stages. But this Monday’s announcement by officials has fueled a craving for fresh air in China’s financial capital, with minimal confusion.

“It’s great news, but I can’t believe it. Everything here changes from moment to moment. I still remember when in March the city government began to refute rumors that they We’re going to confine us, and three days later they did it,” says Asir, a Basque engineer who has lived in Shanghai for six years and will take his bags back home as soon as the city opens.

“China is within its rights to continue with their strict zero COVID policy as it is true that they have saved many lives and if they relax There could be a massacre with such a large population, a type of virus that is so contagious and there are vaccines that do not protect like those manufactured in the West. But as soon as we get out, there will be a flood of migrants who will leave and never come back. It is very difficult to survive in these circumstances if you have the option of being somewhere else. You don’t know what could happen tomorrow and Many people like me have gone three years without leaving the country.”Asiyar explains.

More than 600,000 infections and more than 300 deaths in a city that had reported no more than 400 positives in the two years before March and which took a more liberal approach than the rest of the country’s strict policy of confinement and mass testing has claimed. For a boundary condition for Shanghai. If you test positive, there’s more to the fear of ending up in one of the overcrowded quarantine centers than the virus itself. And the spirits are still on the floor for lack of food While Internet users and Chinese cyberspace censors continue to play cat and mouse: some criticize the situation on social networks, and others rush to delete the comments. And so on again and again.

Relaxation in restrictions from May 21

This Monday, at the same time as the latest data on a slowdown in China’s economic activity due to the shutdowns were known, retail sales, industrial production and employment were hit (China’s unemployment rate rose to 6.1% in April, the highest since the peak). The highest level is (6.2%) seen in the early part of the epidemic in February 2020), Shanghai deputy mayor Zong Ming announced the easing of some movement restrictions from May 21 and an opening next month.

“From June 1 to mid and late June, as long as the risk of a rebound in infections is controlled, we will fully implement epidemic prevention and control, normalize management and We will fully restore normal production and life in the cityZong said.

Supermarkets, some shops and malls will open next week. Airlines will increase domestic flights and railway operators will do the same with trains. Public transport will also return for neighbors showing negative PCR tests in the last 48 hours.

It will be a slow restart of the economic heart of the Asian giant. Meanwhile, Beijing, the political centre, is secretly in its fourth week of lockdown. People aren’t confined to their homes like in Shanghai, but they can’t do much outside them as practically everything is closed. The social life of a large section of the residents is confined to queues which have to be done for PCR every 48 hours. And it’s not even a long wait as there are more testing stations on the streets than there are new daily infections.

Restaurants remain closed, although food delivery services are operating as normal. Public transport was stopped in virus-hit districts and people were asked to stay at home. A total of 1,015 positive cases have been reported in China’s capital (from April 22 to May 14), home to more than 21 million people. they are all recorded In two hospitals in the city, though the vast majority are asymptomatic, as the national policy does not allow home quarantine.

This is the situation as Chinese leaders continue to defend their strategy to save lives, which was renamed “Covid Zero Dynamic” at the beginning of the year, although it is a bit dynamic as the very tough policy is being executed. When it all started in 2020. In Wuhan, in addition to continuing to close borders and extend quarantine.

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