Shanghai will gradually increase domestic flight services

quick take

As Covid-hit Shanghai plans to return to normal life, airlines, buses and rail transit will gradually resume operations. However, travelers would still need a negative Covid test no older than 48 hours to take public transport.

Peden Doma Butia

Shanghai laid out plans on Monday for a return to more normal life from June 1 and an end to a painful COVID-19 lockdown that has lasted more than six weeks and contributed to a sharp slowdown in economic activity in Shanghai. China.

In the clearest timetable yet, Vice Mayor Zong Ming said Shanghai’s reopening would take place in stages, with movement restrictions largely until May 21 to prevent a spike in infections, before a loosening. gradual.

“From June 1 to the middle and end of June, as long as the risks of a rebound in infections are controlled, we will fully implement epidemic prevention and control, normalize management, and fully restore normal production and life in the city,” he said. .

Shanghai’s full lockdown and Covid restrictions imposed on hundreds of millions of consumers and workers in dozens of other cities have hit retail sales, industrial production and employment, adding to fears the economy could contract in the second trimester.

Severe restrictions, increasingly out of step with the rest of the world, which has been lifting Covid rules even as infections spread, are also sending shockwaves through global supply chains and international trade.

Data on Monday showed China’s industrial production fell 2.9 percent in April from a year earlier, a sharp drop from a 5 percent rise in March, while retail sales shrank 11.1 percent. percent year-on-year, after falling 3.5 percent the previous month.

Both were way below expectations.

Economic activity has probably been picking up a bit in May, analysts say, with the government and central bank expected to roll out more stimulus measures to speed things up.

But the strength of the rebound is uncertain due to China’s uncompromising “Covid Zero” policy of eradicating all outbreaks at all costs.

“China’s economy could experience a more significant recovery in the second half, barring a Shanghai-like lockdown in another major city,” said Tommy Wu, chief China economist at Oxford Economics.

“Risks to the outlook are tilted to the downside as the effectiveness of stimulus policies will largely depend on the scale of future Covid outbreaks and lockdowns.”

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 imposed a citywide lockdown, but has been restricting sidewalks to the point where road traffic levels in Beijing fell last week to levels comparable to those in Shanghai, according to GPS data tracked by the giant. Baidu internet Chinese.

On Sunday, Beijing rolled out guidance for working from home in four districts. It had already banned dine-in services at restaurants and restricted public transportation, among other measures.

Trains and Planes

In Shanghai, the deputy mayor said the city would start reopening supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies from Monday, but many movement restrictions were to remain in place until at least May 21.

It’s unclear how many businesses have reopened.

Starting Monday, China’s railway operator will gradually increase the number of trains arriving and departing from the city, Zong said. Airlines will also increase domestic flights.

Starting May 22, bus and train transit will also gradually resume operations, but people will need to show a negative Covid test no older than 48 hours to take public transportation.

During the lockdown, many Shanghai residents have been disappointed over and over again by changing the times for the lifting of restrictions.

Many residential complexes received notices last week that they would be in “silent mode” for three days, which generally means that they will not be able to leave the house and, in some cases, there will be no deliveries. Then another notice said the quiet period would be extended until May 20.

“Please don’t lie to us this time,” said a member of the public on the Weibo social media platform, adding a crying emoji.

Shanghai reported fewer than 1,000 new cases as of May 15, all within areas under the strictest controls.

In relatively freer areas, which are monitored to measure progress in eradicating the outbreak, no new cases were found for the second day in a row.

A third day would generally mean “zero Covid” status has been achieved and restrictions may start to ease. Fifteen of the 16 districts of the city had reached “zero Covid”.

Beijing reported 54 new cases, up from 41.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Kevin Yao, Yifan Wang, and Muyu Xu in Beijing; and the Beijing and Shanghai offices; Writing by Marius Zaharia; Editing by Robert Birsel)

This article was written by Kevin Yao and Brenda Goh of Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].com.

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