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TUESDAY, September 27, 2022
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Shanghai's streets hum back to life as Covid lockdown lifts

Shanghai's streets hum back to life as Covid lockdown lifts

WEDNESDAY, June 01, 2022

Shanghai's roads and subway stations hummed back into life on Wednesday (June 1) as the financial hub ended its strict two-month lockdown.

Most of Shanghai's 25 million residents can now freely leave home, return to work, use public transport and drive their cars - a moment that for many in China's largest and most cosmopolitan city felt like it would never arrive.

"I felt extremely happy when I left home for work today. We were locked in our homes for two whole months as we were under lockdown since April 1," said a Shanghai local, Ma Xiang.

During the two months, numerous residents of the country's most important financial and economic hub struggled to get enough food or medical care. Families were separated and hundreds of thousands were forced into centralised quarantine facilities.

Residents will have to test every 72 hours to take public transport and enter public venues, heralding what may become a "new normal" in many Chinese cities. Those testing positive, and their close contacts, face onerous quarantines.

Following two months of frustration, despair and economic loss, Shanghai's residents were seen on Wednesday buying groceries, picking out fruits and engaging in chitchats.

Holding bags of vegetables, an elderly local who only gave her surname as Wang, told Reuters she had not stepped out of her home for two months.

"Finally at ease. I stayed at home all day and never went out, I felt sloppy," she said.

Shanghai's ordeal has come to symbolise what critics say is the unsustainability of China's adherence to a zero-COVID policy that aims to cut off every infection chain, at any cost, even as much of the world tries to return to normal despite ongoing infections.

Shanghai's roads streamed with cars and people as the city sprang to life again on Wednesday 

Most of Shanghai's 25 million residents can now freely leave home, return to work, use public transport and drive their cars - a moment that for many in China's largest and most cosmopolitan city felt like it would never arrive.

Joggers, skaters and dog walkers braved the heat, pouring into riverfront parks along with other residents basking under the sunshine in the West Bund area.

Residents must still wear masks in public and avoid gatherings. Restaurant dining remains banned and shops can only operate at 75% capacity. Gyms will reopen later.