By Brenda Goh and Martin Quin Pollard
SHANGHAI / BEIJING (Reuters) – Shanghai reopened a small part of the world’s longest subway system on Sunday after some lines were closed for nearly two months as the city paves the way for a more complete uplift of its painful blocking by COVID-19. week.
With most residents not allowed to leave their homes and restrictions being tightened in parts of China’s most populous city, early Sunday travelers needed solid reasons to travel.
Shanghai’s blockade and restrictions on other cities have affected consumption, industrial production and other sectors of the Chinese economy in recent months, prompting promises of support from policymakers.
Many of those who ventured into the mall wore blue protective suits and face shields. Inside the carriages, passengers were seen holding some empty seats between them. The crowds were small.
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Xu Jihua, a migrant construction worker, arrived at a subway stop before opening at 7 a.m., hoping to reach a railway station, which was then in the eastern province. of Anhui.
“The work stopped on March 16,” Xu said, adding that he had not been able to earn his monthly salary of 7,000-8,000 yuan ($ 1,000-1,100) since then and would only return to Shanghai when he was there. sure he could find a job.
“Is the containment really rising or not? It’s not very clear.”
A woman who only asked to be identified by her last name told him that she had to visit her father in a hospital 8 km (5 miles) from her last stop.
“I go to the heart hospital, but I don’t know if there will be cars or transportation once I get to the train station,” Li said. “I may have to walk there.”
Four of the 20 lines were reopened and 273 bus lines. Some had closed in late March, others later, although sporadic service continued with a limited number of stops.
The city of 25 million hopes to lift the blockade across the city and return to a more normal life from June 1. Most movement restrictions will remain in effect this month.
The 800-mile Shanghai metro system had an average of 7.7 million journeys a day in 2020, according to the latest figures, with an annual passenger traffic of 2.8 billion.
Trains will run 20 minutes apart for limited hours. Passengers must scan their body temperature at the entrance and show negative results of PCR tests performed within 48 hours.
Shanghai has gradually reopened convenience stores and wholesale markets and allowed more people to leave their homes, with community broadcasts largely eliminated.
However, some parts of the city have recently narrowed their borders, underlying the difficulty of resuming normal life under China’s zero VOCID policy, which is increasingly at odds with the rest of the world.
Jingan, a key shopping district, said on Saturday it would require all shops to close and residents to stay home at least until Tuesday, as it conducts mass tests.
The use of exit permits, previously given to residents who were allowed to leave their homes for short walks, has been suspended, authorities said without giving any reason.
Similar actions were announced on Friday in Hongkou District and on Saturday in Zhaoxiang City of Qingpu District, who said they wanted to “consolidate” the results of their epidemic prevention efforts so far.
Shanghai reported less than 700 cases a day on Sunday. Significantly, none were out of the quarantined areas, as has been the case for much of the past week. The capital, Beijing, recorded 61 cases, down from 70.
Beijing has been tightening restrictions since April 22, with many shops closed, public transportation reduced and residents calling to work from home. But it is still struggling to eliminate an outbreak of dozens of new infections a day.
Tianjin, a key northeastern port, found 36 new cases on Saturday, CCTV reported.
Regulators said on Friday they would streamline the process of issuing stocks and bonds by companies affected by the pandemic and urged brokers and fund managers to channel more money to sectors affected by the virus.
($ 1 = 6.6921 Chinese Yuan Renminbi)
(Reports from the Beijing and Shanghai offices; written by Marius Zaharia and William Mallard)
Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.