Shanghai authorities announced a limited reopening of the city, China’s financial capital and most populous city, starting Monday. Shanghai has been under strict lockdown for seven weeks, with almost 26 million people locked at home. The city’s deputy mayor, Chen Tong, said shops, malls, restaurants and pharmacies could reopen with restrictions. The news was received with some skepticism by the residents, as the authorities had previously sent out similar messages that were not implemented.
The announcement comes after the number of infections in Shanghai has declined in recent weeks. This Sunday there were 1,369 cases, both symptomatic and asymptomatic. It was 1,681 the day before. The city has reached its goal of zero daily infections in some of its lower-density neighborhoods, in which it has already begun lifting certain restrictions, allowing its neighbors to go grocery shopping, for example. However, in parallel, many other areas, especially in the city center, have intensified the strictness of the self-isolation regime over the past two weeks, with increased restrictions on home delivery services and the expansion of barriers and checkpoints set up on the streets.
Discomfort and distrust
The length and severity of the measures, as well as the unfulfilled announcements, have increased discomfort and distrust among Shanghai residents, who have had many problems accessing food and medicine since the lockdown began. “Who are you kidding? We can’t even leave the house. You can open, but no one can enter,” commented a Weibo social network user this Sunday, who, judging by the IP address of his device, was connected to the Internet from the city.
Shanghai’s deputy mayor said, without elaborating, that shoppers will be able to return to supermarkets, shops and malls in an “orderly manner” this Monday. Restaurants will be able to sell takeaway food. And vegetable markets will resume their work.
While the rest of the world’s major economies are moving towards a return to normality, China’s zero-case coronavirus policy has led to varying degrees of restrictions in place in dozens of cities, including the capital Beijing, including hundreds of people living as a result of the outbreaks. generated by the omicron variant, much more contagious than the previous ones.
In addition to the human impact that the measures have on the inhabitants of the country that best controlled the infection at the beginning of the pandemic, experts warn of its consequences for the Chinese economy and, as a result, for global economic activity, which is largely dependent on the supplies that are produced in the Asian giant. Shanghai’s manufacturing activity hasn’t stopped thanks to extreme measures like moving workers into factories, but it’s been running on half gas for weeks now. The traffic of his port, the largest in the world, fell by 40% during the first month of imprisonment. And economists are warning that global supply chains will notice the problems this will bring in the coming months.
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