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Shanghai targets June COVID lockdown exit as China economy slumps

Shanghai targets June COVID lockdown exit as China economy slumps

On Monday, Shanghai announced plans to end a painful COVID-19 lockdown that has lasted more than six weeks and has severely harmed China’s economy, and to resume regular life on June 1.

In the clearest timeline yet, Deputy Mayor Zong Ming stated that Shanghai would reopen in stages, with movement restrictions primarily in place until May 21 to prevent a resurgence of diseases, before being eased.

“We will fully implement epidemic prevention and control, normalize management, and fully restore normal production and living in the city from June 1 to mid- and late June, as long as risks of a resurgence in illnesses are minimized,” she stated.

Some Shanghai residents, however, were skeptical of the statement, citing previous disappointments with shifting dates for the easing of restrictions.

On the Weibo social media network, one user asked, “Shanghai, Shanghai… am I still supposed to believe you?”

The complete shutdown of Shanghai and COVID restrictions on hundreds of millions of customers and workers in dozens of Chinese cities have wreaked havoc on the economy, raising predictions that the GDP would contract in the second quarter.

The limitations are sending shockwaves across global supply chains and international trade, as they fall further behind the rest of the globe, which is removing COVID limits even as diseases proliferate.

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China’s industrial output and retail sales declined at the sharpest rate in more than two years in April, according to data released on Monday, falling short of expectations.

Recent statistics has been discouraging: catering revenue has down 22.7 percent, home sales have dropped 46.6 percent, and auto sales have dropped 47.6 percent.

Last month, no automobiles were sold in Shanghai, China’s most populated metropolis with a population of 25 million people, according to data, and showrooms were closed. Passenger numbers fell 90.7 percent year on year in April, according to China Eastern Airlines, which is based in the city.

Analysts believe that Chinese economic activity improved somewhat in May and that the government and central bank will use additional stimulus measures to boost growth.

However, given China’s strict “zero COVID” policy, the strength and duration of a rebound are unknown.

“The figures create a picture of a stalled economy in need of more forceful stimulus and a speedy loosening of COVID limitations, neither of which is likely to happen anytime soon,” said TD Securities analyst Mitul Kotecha.

Shanghai’s reopening preparations were overshadowed by the data, pushing Chinese markets lower.

Hundreds of new COVID cases have been discovered every day in Beijing for the past three weeks, demonstrating how tough it is to eradicate even tiny outbreaks.

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According to data recorded by Chinese internet giant Baidu, the capital has not imposed a city-wide lockdown but has tightened limitations to the point where road traffic volumes were equivalent to those in shut-down Shanghai last week.

Dine-in restaurants are prohibited, public transportation is limited, and many locals are encouraged to work from home.

Outside one of Beijing’s shuttered metro stations, a lady called Zhang who runs a business selling jianbing pancakes, a popular street dish claimed her daily turnover had decreased from 2,000-3,000 yuan ($737) to barely 100-200 yuan ($29).

“Isn’t it true that we still have to pay rent? Many small businesses have closed, as you can see “On Monday, she told Dailion from her empty, darkly lighted store.

‘PLEASE DON’T LIE,’ says the narrator.

Shanghai’s deputy mayor announced that supermarkets, convenience stores, and pharmacies would reopen on Monday, but that movement restrictions would be in effect until at least May 21.

Operators will progressively restore train services and domestic flights starting Monday, she added. Bus service will gradually restart on May 22, although passengers must present a COVID test result that is less than 48 hours old to ride public transportation.

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Authorities have repeatedly shattered expectations for an end to the siege throughout Shanghai’s lockdown. When it was first implemented on March 27, the lockdown was only supposed to continue until April 5.

Many residential communities were notified last week that they would be in “quiet mode” for three days, which entails being unable to leave the house and, in some circumstances, receiving no deliveries. The silence time would subsequently be extended until May 20th, according to another notice.

Another Weibo user added a crying emoji and stated, “Please don’t lie to us this time.”

For the month of May, Shanghai recorded less than 1,000 new cases, all of which occurred within restricted areas.

For the second day in a row, no new cases were identified in the more freer areas being watched to evaluate progress in eradicating the outbreak.

After a third day, “zero COVID” status is frequently obtained, and limitations can begin to be eased. COVID had reached “zero” in 15 of the city’s 16 districts.

Beijing reported 54 cases for the prior day on Monday, up from 41 the day before.

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