Women throw their hats in the air to celebrate the easing of Covid restrictions in Shanghai (Picture: AFP)
Shanghai hardly showed the carnage of Super Saturday – when Brits downed 15 million pints on the first night of pubs reopening – but there were some celebrations at the end of its strict Covid lockdown.
At midnight, people slowly reappeared on the streets of China’s largest city to celebrate the rollback of restrictions after two months.
Handfuls of the city’s 25 million residents cheered and drunk beers together, while joggers and pedestrians made the most of their new freedoms.
China’s policy of zero-Covid remains in place, meaning anyone who catches the virus faces being sent to quarantine centres or hospitals.
Officials proclaimed the lockdown’s success and thanked citizens for their ‘support and contributions.’
The compulsory measures have upended daily life for millions while severely disrupting the economy and global supply chains.
Full bus and subway services were restored today, with rail connections to the rest of China set to follow.
Shanghai residents descended on a riverside park after the city’s lockdown was lifted (Picture: Reuters)
Friends have some drinks together after two months apart (Picture: Reuters)
There is still widespread testing in place across the sprawling city (Picture: AFP)
But more than half a million people are still under lockdown measures or in designated control zones because of detected cases.
All restrictions will be gradually lifted, but negative PCR tests to enter public venues will stay standard in Shanghai, Beijing and elsewhere.
It didn’t deter Cao Yue, who works in the hard-hit travel industry, from gathering outside to eat and drink under the watchful eye of police.
Cao said the past two months of lockdown was a depressing experience but she was glad to see ‘many happy people’ on the street.
Public transport was running again today, reconnecting 25 million people in Shanghai (Picture: AFP)
People still need to test negative to enter public spaces (Picture: AFP)
‘At the beginning of the lockdown I felt hard in my heart because I didn’t know what to do and it was difficult to buy food at the beginning,’ she said.
‘It was quite depressing to be locked at home and see the whole Shanghai under lockdown.’
Lu Kexin, a high school student, said she went crazy being trapped at home for so long. ‘I’m very happy, extremely happy, all the way, too happy,’ she said.
Schools will partially reopen on a voluntary basis, and shopping malls, supermarkets, convenience stores and drug stores will reopen gradually at no more than 75% capacity. Cinemas and gyms will remain closed.
Health authorities reported just 15 new cases of Covid in Shanghai today, down from a record high of 20,000 daily cases in April.
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