Covid-19

COVID-19

China’s Shenzhen eases weekend Covid-19 lockdown but some curbs remain

China’s Shenzhen eases weekend Covid-19 lockdown but some curbs remain
A woman holds up a reminder for wearing face masks inside the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, 30 August 2022. China's southern city of Shenzhen and Hebei province have been put on lockdown as preventive measures after a Covid-19 outbreak. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

BEIJING, Sept 5 (Reuters) - China's Shenzhen moved away on Monday from a weekend Covid-19 lockdown covering most parts of the city as new infections showed signs of stabilising in its latest outbreak, while entertainment venues and large events remained suspended.

An outbreak since late August prompted Shenzhen to temporarily order most of its 17.7 million residents to largely remain at home over the weekend and subject them to two rounds of mass testing.

By Monday, restrictions on dining and certain park visits were eased, and many subway stations resumed operation, in efforts to minimise disruptions while still adhering to Beijing’s “dynamic Covid-zero” policy that aims at containing each and every outbreak.

The adjustments came after the southern tech hub found fewer infections among those who hadn’t been quarantined already. The latest data showed 71 new local cases for Sunday, down from 89 a day earlier, while the cumulative figure of around 500 infections since late August remains less than the total in the last major outbreak in mid-March.

But Shenzhen remains on high vigilance against the Omicron subvariants.

Most residents continued to be subject to stricter rules when entering residential compounds, such as white lists for entry and checks on digital health credentials. Targeted lockdowns also continued in some areas deemed to be at higher risk.

While most parts of Shenzhen reopened food establishments on Monday, restaurants could only operate at half capacity. The city’s most populous district, Baoan, and the district of Guangming, allowed parks to take visitors at half capacity.

China has stuck to its stringent Covid-19 policies even as most other countries have eased restrictions and learned to live with the virus. The approach increasingly clouds the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy as the highly transmissible Omicron spreads across China, prompting curbs and lockdowns.

Chengdu, the biggest Chinese city that has entered lockdown after Shanghai’s two-month ordeal, extended its lockdown by three days through to Wednesday for most of its 21.2 million residents.

As of Monday morning, the flight cancellation rate at Chengdu’s Shuangliu Airport was 88% and its Tianfu Airport was at 95%, according to data from Flight Master.

Flights in many other cities remained suspended.

The flight cancellation rate at Lhasa’s Gongga Airport in Tibet was at 97% and Sanya’s Phoenix Airport in Hainan was at 90%, while Xining’s Caojiapu Airport in Qinghai stood at 96% and Shenzhen’s Baoan Airport was at 82%.

(Reporting by Roxanne Liu, Sophie Yu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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