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China's Shanghai Eases COVID Curbs After Strict Lockdown of 65 Days

Residents now have to show a green health code on their smartphones to leave their buildings.

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COVID-19
2 min read
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China's economic hub, Shanghai, eased COVID restrictions on Wednesday, 1 June, after a lockdown that lasted 65 days, Reuters reported.

The curbs were removed at midnight local time, and while most people could move around freely in the city of 25 million people, around 6,50,000 residents remain in lockdown.

"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," Shanghai government spokeswoman Yin Xin was quoted as saying by the BBC.

Most shops have reopened, and the larger ones are operating at 75 percent capacity, but cinemas, museums and gyms continue to be shut.

Residents of the city now have to show a green health code on their smartphones to leave their buildings and gain access to most places.

Any person leaving the city will have to quarantine for at least a week on arriving at their destination.

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A Brutal Lockdown

Shanghai residents have been bearing the brunt of a brutal lockdown imposed by the administration as part of China's "Zero COVID" approach to the pandemic.

In videos that went viral on social media, they were heard screaming out of their houses and fighting with the authorities for access to essential supplies.

Residents had to order food and water, and wait for government-employed people to drop off items like vegetables, meat, and eggs.

This contributed to a severe shortage of food and even medical supplies. Consequently, small riots broke out.

Children were separated from their parents. Reports regarding the same showed several children in cots at a quarantine facility with their parents nowhere in sight.

Hospitals were overwhelmed with patients with mild symptoms, while asymptomatic people are still being taken to quarantine centres.

In makeshift hospitals, people were provided beds without sheets or blankets, along with dirty public toilets.

One woman wrote on Weibo, "I don’t know why my hospital looks nothing like those shown on television. The difference is worlds apart."

China has recorded a minimum 14,604 deaths and 2,426,568 cases of COVID.

Around 9 out of 10 people are fully vaccinated.

(With inputs from Reuters and BBC)

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