Shanghai Ends Two-Month Lockdown and Eases COVID-19 Restrictions

Shanghai’s authorities have lifted the strict Covid-19 restrictions after an extended two-month lockdown.

China’s economic hub and world trade center relaxed controls from midnight on Tuesday, allowing most visitors and residents to move freely around the city and carry out some activities.

However, at least 650,000 people must remain in home quarantine, classified as “sealed” or “closed” zones, as China’s zero Covid policy orders Covid-19 patients and their contacts to stay confined to their homes or at the hospital.

Shanghai government spokeswoman Yin Xin described the move as “a day we dreamed of for a very long time.”

“Everyone has sacrificed a lot. This day has been hard-won and we need to cherish and protect it, and welcome back the Shanghai we are familiar with and missed,” she added.

However, controls on leaving the city remain in place. Anyone returning or leaving Shanghai could face a quarantine period of seven to 14 days.

Local authorities also imposed new measures. To leave their residential compounds and enter most places, people must present a green health code on their smartphone.

Additionally, all residents and visitors must have had a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours to use public transportation or enter banks.

Despite the Shanghai government relaxing some strict restrictions, children will not be able to go back to school yet, and some places must remain closed, including museums, cinemas, and gyms.

Shanghai residents greeted the announcement with cheers and sounds of jubilation. Many people gathered in the city’s streets to sing and toast with drinks as the clock struck midnight, signaling that the lockdown was over.

State media said Wednesday was “a new start” and described restrictions’ lifting as the time to return to life and work.

The lockdown was supposed to last only nine days, but it was extended for 65.

The government’s decision to ease strict controls comes as an enormous relief for companies with halted production and families with significant income cuts, local media reported.

Shops opened their doors again, with the largest stores operating at 70% capacity. Public transportation also resumed, allowing workers to return to work under a new staggered work schedule.

The city’s riverside parks were also packed with joggers, bikers, walkers and skaters celebrating their return to freedom.