SHANGHAI, CHINA (AP) – Zhu Rongfang was in a group of friends who revisited their favorite haven in downtown Shanghai’s historic old city on Thursday after easing COVID-19 restrictions that brought many of the city’s 25 million residents to their homes. two months.
The 65-year-old pensioner said she had regained a sense of freedom, which was “very nice”.
“The mood during the blockade is very different from the current one. Now it is a kind of re-release, a feeling of liberation, ”Zhu said.
Zhu photographed in front of the Temple of the City God and its picturesque body of water, located in the center of the Yuan Garden, which is usually bustling with visitors from abroad and from China.
Dining in restaurants is still banned in Shanghai, Beijing and other Chinese cities, and many communities remain under varying levels of blocking. Shanghai authorities have repealed some of the most intrusive measures that have sparked rare public protests, but local Communist Party district committees continue to limit how far and for how long residents can dare.
Xia Huzheng, who owns a traditional tools store in the Yuan Garden, said he hopes tourists will return, despite the fact that China largely keeps its borders closed. Travel between cities and even within districts is not recommended, although not officially prohibited.
“No foreigners, more visitors and fewer tourists. Must be better, right? It will gradually recover, ”said Xiao, 51, who plays the Xiao flute and has been selling Chinese classical instruments for more than 20 years.
China adheres to a “zero COVID-19” strategy that requires blocking, mass testing, and isolation for those who are infected or in contact with someone with a positive test.
This has had a strong impact on the national economy and supply chains of industrial goods owned by Chinese manufacturers.
The employment prospects of migrant workers and 11 million new college graduates have deteriorated significantly, and private sector forecasters have lowered their estimates of this year’s economic growth to 2%, well below the ruling Communist Party’s target of 5.5%.
Shanghai reported only 13 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, raising hopes that all restrictions will be lifted soon.
Commercial outlets in the city’s major business districts have gradually resumed operations, opening the door to customers who still need to show a negative test result over the past 72 hours.
“Today, more than 90% of our stores and vendors operate normally,” said Hu Hui, head of the Plaza66 office and shopping complex in central Shanghai.
Sellers told Shanghai Media Group that customers have shown a strong desire to shop on the first day of recovery.
“Now the whole passenger flow is a scene we could only see on the weekends before closing,” said Shi Jing of Florentia Village, a design center in Shanghai’s Pudong district.
City metro lines also resumed operations on Wednesday, although the number of passengers remained half of the number before closing, reflecting the outflow of migrants who stood in line for hours at train stations and airports to return home.