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Shanghai declares zero-Covid milestone, but residents cast doubt on reopening

“Zero-Covid at the societal level” means that infections no longer exist outside centralized quarantine facilities or neighborhoods under the strictest barriers – and is a prerequisite for these measures to be lifted.

Zhao Dandan, deputy head of the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission, said at a news conference on Tuesday that all 16 districts in China’s financial hub had now achieved that award. But 860,000 people remain below the strictest lock level, which means they can not leave their homes.

Since China’s leader Xi Jinping vowed to persevere with his zero-Covid policy on May 5, Shanghai authorities have taken increasingly tough measures, canceling food deliveries in some neighborhoods, forcing residents who tested negative for Covid in government quarantine and disinfecting their homes without consent. .
But even though the tough measures have led to dissatisfaction among the inhabitants, they also seem to have reduced infections. Shanghai reported fewer than 1,000 new cases both Sunday and Monday – the first time below four digits since March 24, according to the city’s health commission.
'Stop asking why': Shanghai intensifies Covid blockade despite falling cases
The announcement comes a day after Shanghai promised to gradually ease its Covid lockdown and restore life to normal in June, after seven weeks of a government-enforced standstill that inflicted great pain on its citizens and hit the economy devastatingly.

At a news conference on Monday, Shanghai officials said the eruption was “under effective control” as 15 of the city’s 16 districts had stopped the spread of Covid in the community, with less than 1 million of the 25 million residents still in severe blockade.

Officials said the city’s reopening will come in three phases, with the goal of restoring normalcy and restarting factories in June.

“From June 1 to mid and late June, under the premise of controlling the risk of recurrence of infections, we will make epidemic prevention and control a normalized routine, and fully restore normal production and life in the city,” said Deputy Mayor Zong . in Ming.

Supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies began reopening on Monday, Zong said, adding that they would be followed by hair salons and wholesale agricultural markets.

Train services to and from Shanghai have also been gradually resumed since Monday, followed by domestic flights. From 22 May, the bus and metro offer will resume. Passengers will need a negative Covid test – taken within 48 hours – to board public transport, according to Zong.

The people of Shanghai are not convinced

The reopening roadmap was met with skepticism by some Shanghai residents who have lost confidence in the local government.

In March, the Shanghai authorities repeatedly denied that the city would lock up. Police even arrested two people accused of “spreading rumors” that such a measure was imminent.

When the local government announced a two-stage shutdown in late March, it said it would only last for four days and promised that daily supplies would be adequate. But days became weeks, and many struggled to secure access to food and other daily necessities.

“You can fool me, but do not do it too many times,” said a user on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform, in a widely circulated comment.

'We are the last generation': China's severe shutdowns could exacerbate the population crisis

On Chinese social media, some residents of Shanghai said they were still not allowed to go out despite the fact that their neighborhoods did not report any recent cases. Others reacted to reports in state media claiming that life in the city is returning to normal.

Meanwhile, an article on the website of the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, with pictures claiming to reopen restaurants, cafes and supermarkets, was published.

“Even though I’m not allowed to go out in Shanghai, I can feel a real warmth from your fake news. Thank you People’s Daily!” said a resident in a post on social media under a hashtag that can loosely translate as “the smell of cooking is returning in Shanghai”.

“Is it Shanghai in a parallel world?” asked another user under the same hashtag.

The hashtag, which has been viewed 140 million times, seems to have caught the attention of China’s internet censors; By Tuesday afternoon, only posts published by official accounts under that hashtag could be seen.

Some Shanghai residents even made sarcastic comments on the official Weibo account of the National Anti-Fraud Center, an app launched by China’s Ministry of Public Security to combat telephone fraud.

“Please go after the Shanghai government and let them shut up. They lie with their eyes open every day, enough is enough,” said a user from Shanghai.

Others retained their resentment for Folkets Dagblad. “ are spreading rumors. Shanghai described in their words is not Shanghai I live in right now,” said one user.

Most of the comments were deleted on Tuesday afternoon.

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