Shanghai prepares to move toward returning to normal after 2-month COVID-19 lockdown

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A woman walks with her luggage along a highway toward the Hongqiao railway station in Shanghai, China, on Sunday. The city will begin easing its lockdown on Wednesday. File Photo by Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE

May 31 (UPI) — The city of Shanghai in China is preparing to start easing COVID-19 restrictions on Wednesday after a two-month shutdown left the country’s most prosperous city at a standstill as health authorities tried to curb the latest outbreak.

Mayor Wu Qing says that all businesses would be allowed to open starting Wednesday, but people who want to take public transportation to work will still have to show a negative COVID-19 test.

Many of the 26 million people who live in Shanghai have been confined to their homes for weeks during the lockdown, as the lockdown negatively affected every area of business in China’s internationally active city.

Some Shanghai residents were allowed out of their residences on Monday to take short walks, but many of the streets remained quiet because of suspended traffic rules.

“This is a day that we dreamed of for a very long time,” Shanghai government spokeswoman Yin Xin said, according to NBC News.

“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 Vice Mayor Zong Ming said on Tuesday that the Hongqiao and Pudong international airports will allow airlines to resume flights gradually. During the lockdown, only a handful of international flights had been allowed to land and take off there.

The Shanghai Composite Index, which follows stocks connected to more than 2,000 companies, dropped 0.8% from the start of the lockdown on March 28 through Monday, recouping most of its losses after the Chinese government lowered the reserve requirement ratios for banks and cut mortgage rates for new homebuyers.

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