Shanghai targets June 1 end of lockdown
Shanghai has set out plans for the return of more normal life from June 1 and the end of a painful COVID-19 lockdown that has lasted more than six weeks and contributed to a sharp slowdown in China's economic activity.
In the clearest timetable yet, Deputy Mayor Zong Ming said Shanghai's reopening would be carried out in stages, with movement curbs largely to remain in place until May 21 to prevent a rebound in infections, before a gradual easing.
"From June 1, to mid- and late June, as long as risks of a rebound in infections are controlled, we will fully implement epidemic prevention and control, normalise management, and fully restore normal production and life in the city," she said on Monday.
The full lockdown of Shanghai and curbs on hundreds of millions of consumers and workers in dozens of other cities have hurt retail sales, industrial production and employment, adding to fears the economy could shrink in the second quarter.
The severe restrictions, increasingly out of step with the rest of the world, which has been lifting COVID-19 rules even as infections spread, are also sending shock waves through global supply chains and international trade.
Beijing, which has been finding dozens of new cases almost every day since April 22, offers a strong indication of how difficult it is to tackle the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
The capital has not enforced a city-wide lockdown but has been tightening curbs to the point road traffic levels in Beijing slid last week to levels comparable to Shanghai's, according to GPS data tracked by Chinese internet giant Baidu.
On Sunday, Beijing extended guidance to work from home in four districts. It had already banned dine-in services at restaurants and curtailed public transport, among other measures.
In Shanghai, the deputy mayor said the city would begin to reopen supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies from Monday, but many movement restrictions had to remain in place until at least May 21.
Shanghai reported fewer than 1000 new cases for May 15, all inside areas under the strictest controls.
Beijing reported 54 new cases, up from 41.
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