Lower Community Transmission for Three Days in Shanghai, Hints Easing of Restrictions

Shanghai reported no new Covid-19 infections in the broader community for a third consecutive day, hitting a crucial milestone that authorities have said will allow them to start unwinding a lockdown that has gripped the Chinese financial hub for more than six weeks.

The city reported a total of 823 infections for Monday (May 16), down from 938 on Sunday. Government officials previously said that having no community spread for three straight days was a prerequisite to start easing the toughest elements of the lockdown and broadly resuming business activity. They had previously set a target of meeting the milestone by May 20.

China’s adherence to zero tolerance for Covid-19 – epitomised by Shanghai’s lockdown and other restrictions imposed elsewhere in the country – has slowed everything from consumer spending to manufacturing in the world’s second largest economy. Industrial output and consumer spending slid to the worst levels in April since the pandemic began.

Shanghai aims to return to normal life and restore full production by mid-to-late June, Vice Mayor Zong Ming said at a briefing on Monday. Taxis and private cars will gradually be allowed back on the roads in some areas from Monday, while train and bus services will resume from May 22.

Meanwhile, Beijing reported 52 cases for Monday, down slightly from 54 for Sunday. The capital will start another three rounds of mass testing in a dozen districts as infections continue to emerge from outside the areas that are deemed high risk and already under quarantine.