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Homechevron_rightWorldchevron_rightShanghai eases Covid...

Shanghai eases Covid curbs after two months in step toward returning to normalcy

Shanghai eases Covid curbs after two months in step toward returning to normalcy

Shanghai: Shanghai eased a range of Covid-19 restrictions on Wednesday in a step toward returning to normalcy after two months of heavy-handed restrictions that throttled businesses and locked down residents.

After some rules were gradually relaxed over the past few weeks, authorities on Wednesday began allowing residents in areas deemed low-risk to move around the city freely.

Malls, convenience stores, pharmacies, and beauty salons will be allowed to operate at 75 percent capacity, while parks and other scenic spots will gradually reopen, she added.

But cinemas and gyms remain closed, and schools -- shut since mid-March -- will slowly reopen on a voluntary basis.

Buses, subway, and ferry services will also resume, transport officials said.

Taxi services and private cars will also be allowed in low-risk areas, permitting people to visit friends and family outside their district.

Deputy Mayor Zong Ming told reporters Tuesday that the easing will impact about 22 million people in the city.

Still, more than half a million people in the city of 25 million are still under lockdown or in designated control zones because virus cases are still being detected.

The commercial hub of 25 million was shuttered in sections from late March, when the spread of the Omicron variant prompted China's worst outbreak since the virus first emerged in the country in late 2019.

China is wedded to a zero-Covid strategy of hard lockdowns, mass testing and long quarantine periods to wipe out clusters.

Health authorities on Wednesday reported just 15 new cases of COVID-19 in Shanghai, down from a record high of around 20,000 daily cases in April. Government officials in recent days appeared ready to accelerate what has been a gradual easing of the lockdown.

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TAGS:Shanghai Covid19 updates 
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