18 May 2022
Officials in Shanghai said the city had reached "zero-Covid at the community level" in an apparent turning point in the strict measures to curb an outbreak of the Omicron variant.
"Zero-Covid at the community level" signals infections are no longer present outside of centralised quarantine areas or regions under strict lockdowns, and is a requirement for measures to be eased.
Deputy head of the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission, Zhao Dandan affirmed Shanghai had reached that level during a news conference on Tuesday. However, around 860,000 people are still living under the strictest lockdown level and are not permitted to leave their homes.
Yet although the stringent regulations have been met with harsh criticism from residents, infection levels have fallen. There were less than 1,000 new cases in Shanghai on Sunday and Monday, CNN reports, for the first time since the end of March.
The announcement follows Shanghai vowing to ease the lockdown curbs gradually and return to normal in June. Officials said the outbreak was "under effective control", as 15 of Shanghai’s 16 districts has halted the community spread of the virus
The reopening will take place over three stages: "From June 1 to mid- and late June, under the premise of controlling the risks of a rebound in infections, we will make epidemic prevention and control a normalised routine, and fully restore normal production and life in the city," said Deputy Mayor Zong Ming.
Since the beginning of the week, train services to and from the city have been progressively resuming, followed by domestic flights. From Sunday, bus and subway services will be back in operation. In order to use public transport, travellers will need to show a negative Covid test taken with 48 hours, the Deputy Mayor added.