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Covid-19 in China: the city of Shanghai announces a “staged” reopening of businesses

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The city of Shanghai announced this Sunday, May 15 a “gradual” reopening of shops from Monday, when the inhabitants of the Chinese economic capital are showing themselves to be more and more exasperated after a second month of very drastic confinement.

It was the vice-mayor of Shanghai, Chen Tong, who announced a “step-by-step” reopening of businesses from Monday, May 16. The manager did not specify whether he was talking about a gradual resumption of activity in the city, or whether he was conditioning the resumption on certain health criteria.

In China, any lifting of restrictions is generally conditional on “zero contamination in society”, that is to say no new positive cases for three days outside quarantine centers. Shanghai authorities are aiming for this goal in “mid-May”. The decline seems to be underway: some 1,369 new positive cases were announced on Sunday in Shanghai – against more than 25,000 at the end of last month.

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China, which has been facing its worst epidemic outbreak in two years in recent weeks, put the huge metropolis, epicenter of the contagion, under cover in early April. But some of the 25 million inhabitants of Shanghai were already confined to their homes before this date.

The fear of confinement in Beijing

But 1,200 km further north, the capital Beijing lives in fear of confinement, after more than a thousand cases recorded since the end of April. The city has repeatedly screened its residents, confined residences with positive cases and closed metro stations and non-essential businesses in certain neighborhoods.

To curb the contagion, the district of Fangshan, located in the southwest of Beijing and which has 1.3 million inhabitants, suspended the circulation of taxis on Saturday. Apart from a few confined neighborhoods, the vast majority of the 22 million Beijingers can still leave their homes.

However, many public places are closed and residents are forced to telework, particularly in the district of Chaoyang, the most populous in the capital and where many multinationals are based.

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