The Chinese megacities of Beijing and Shanghai began the relaxation of corona measures† Nationwide, the number of new infections dropped to 20 a day, from 54 the day before. The capital Beijing reported eight new infections on Sunday, while Shanghai recorded six.
The easing in China comes about two months after Shanghai ordered its residents to stay in their apartments. In the fight against the virus, the city authorities imposed strict restrictions on its residents. Millions of Chinese were placed under strict quarantine, leading to dire straits.
“Every compound, every gate, every gate must be strictly managed,” said Qi Keping, director of Shanghai’s Yangpu Business District. The city authorities also closed the entrances to some blocks of houses and cordoned off entire streets with two-meter-high green fences. COVID tests were conducted daily, and positive cases were moved to special quarantine facilities, sometimes outside of the city.
The city of Beijing had started tightening virus checks about a month ago, but closed “only” a few neighborhoods.
On Sunday, the Shanghai authorities announced the first relaxation. For example, businesses can continue business from Wednesday without first applying to the government for permission, and major shopping malls in Beijing can reopen from Monday.
Public transportation will also resume in major business centers in both cities, while gyms and museums will reopen at half speed. However, restaurants are still only allowed to deliver or pick up orders.
“However, local newspapers are concerned about the scars being left on society by anti-pandemic measures and the resulting slowdown in growth,” Goldman Sachs analysts said in a report.
Shanghai residents can now theoretically move freely in and out of the city. In practice, decisions are still made by neighborhood committees, leading to an unclear set of rules. Some residents are allowed to go out, but only for a few hours on specific days of the week with a special pass. In other places it is still completely forbidden to go outside.
The industry kicks off
It is not clear at the moment how quickly most companies will be able to resume normal production, as the implementation of the corona measures may differ at the neighborhood level.
Meanwhile, Tesla has restored weekly production at its Shanghai factory to nearly 70 percent of normal. The automaker is expected to ramp up production further this week.
At the end of March, the automaker’s factory in Shanghai was closed for three weeks, dealing a major setback to production. The factory can normally produce about 2,100 cars a day at full capacity.
There was also news last month that Tesla had created a “closed-loop system” in Shanghai, forcing workers to sleep on factory floors in sleeping bags, while working twelve hours a day, six days a week. .
Before workers can enter the factory, they must also be isolated for 48 to 72 hours, according to Bloomberg. Isolation takes place in empty factories and in a former military camp. Only after their isolation are they allowed to join their colleagues in the closed “bubble” of the factory.
NFT as a protest
The events provoked a growing protest on social networks, despite the prevailing Chinese censorship. To escape that censorship, many city residents turned to NFT markets, offering videos and photos of the Shanghai lockdown. Stories were shared about difficulties, such as patients who were unable to receive medical treatment or lack of food. An important market for this was OpenSea.