Covid in China: Shanghai tentatively eases some restrictions

Posted 20 April, 2022

The city of Shanghai, totally confined since the beginning of the month, announced on Wednesday a slight relaxation of restrictions, which penalize supplies and weigh heavily on the economy of China.

The inhabitants of the economic capital seem increasingly exasperated by the difficulties of access to food and by the forced isolation of positive people in quarantine centers, with haphazard comfort and hygiene.

Multinationals are worried about the consequences on global supply chains of the confinement which was initially supposed to last four days. Many companies have stopped production.

The 25 million inhabitants of Shanghai are in principle subject to strict confinement at home. But since last week, some relaxation is allowed, the town hall said on Wednesday.

More than 12 million people can thus technically leave their homes, but must remain within the confines of their residence or their neighborhood, she said.

The degree of movement remains conditioned on Communist Party volunteers, who often apply anti-Covid measures with great zeal.

The authorities remain cautious in the face of the increase in the number of deaths linked to Covid, in particular among the elderly, who are more vulnerable and less vaccinated.

 

Impact on economy

 

Shanghai reported seven additional deaths on Wednesday in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths in the metropolis to 17.

The city has also reported more than 18,000 positive cases.

A figure which remains low compared to the rest of the world, but which is nonetheless the highest for China since the first phase of the epidemic, at the beginning of 2020.

Contrary to many countries that opt ​​for cohabitation with the virus and lift restrictions, China continues to follow a zero Covid policy.

These measures, which seriously harm transport and supply chains, have led to the shutdown of many companies and are weighing on the economy of the Asian giant.

The authorities have begun to list so-called strategic companies in which production must continue. More than 600 companies have been selected for an early resumption of work in Shanghai.

US electric car giant Tesla, which has a major production site in the city, resumed operations on Tuesday after a 20-day suspension, according to local media.

Work is also gradually resuming in the northeast of the country, the cradle of the automotive industry, where tens of millions of Chinese have been confined in recent weeks.

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