Shanghai Residents Flee in Droves as Government Officially Ends Lockdown

A security guard walks at the bund near the Huangpu river across the Pudong New Financial

Migrant workers and some Shanghai residents trapped in the city for the past two months due to a total Chinese coronavirus lockdown fled Shanghai in droves on Monday ahead of the order’s lifting on Wednesday, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

“As Shanghai’s lockdown slowly starts to ease, people are flocking to train and bus stations to flee the city,” the SCMP reported on May 30.

“Some residents and migrant workers in Shanghai, China, are now allowed to leave the city, provided they obtain permission from district committees and show a negative nucleic acid test taken within the last 48 hours,” the newspaper revealed.

“Life has been very hard trying to comply with China’s [zero-Covid] policy,” a migrant worker named Yang told the SCMP on Monday.

“I had not stepped out of my dorm in two months,” he said.

Shanghai’s lockdown fully lifted on Wednesday, June 1. The order had forced all of the city’s 25 million-plus residents to observe strict stay-at-home orders for 65 consecutive days. A mass coronavirus testing edict caused one-half of Shanghai to lockdown for five days at a time each from March 28 to April 5. Shanghai’s government announced a city-wide lockdown hours before the testing protocol was due to expire on April 5, shocking the financial hub’s inhabitants.

While Shanghai’s lockdown officially began easing on June 1, several movement restrictions remained in place across the metropolis.

“Residents are required to provide negative results from nucleic acid tests taken within 72 hours before using public transport and visiting public venues, including office buildings, parks and shopping centres,” the SCMP noted.

Not all residents of Shanghai, which is China’s most populated urban area, were allowed to leave their homes on Wednesday, according to the SCMP. The newspaper revealed that ten percent of Shanghai’s population remained confined to their personal residences as of June 1 due to living in areas deemed “at high risk” for the Chinese coronavirus by Shanghai health officials.

“More than 22.5 million residents, or 90 per cent of Shanghai’s population, who live in low-risk areas that had been declared infection-free for the past 14 days will be allowed to leave their compounds, and access public transport,” the publication reported.

The SCMP, which has on-the-ground reporters in Shanghai, witnessed acts of revelry and expressions of relief by the city’s residents just after midnight on June 1.

“Celebrations began at the stroke of midnight as soon as Tuesday turned into Wednesday, as thousands of residents across hundreds of compounds gathered outside their homes for the first time in weeks. Some held beers in their hands and hugged as they caught up with neighbours and friends,” the newspaper observed, adding that, “Some broke into spontaneous jigs and dances in celebration.”

In a video report, the SCMP captured Shanghai residents setting off fireworks throughout the city to herald its reopening in the early morning hours of June 1.


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