Shanghai citizens sing ‘Tomorrow will be better’ as Chinese cities gradually ease Covid restrictions

·2-min read

The Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai have eased Covid restrictions by partially reopening shops and offices to the delight of many citizens.

Shoppers returned to malls in Beijing on Sunday after the capital relaxed rules and declared that a small Covid outbreak in the city was under control. And some people were seen in a video singing an emotional 1985 anthem called “Tomorrow Will Be Better”.

Other videos circulating on social media a day earlier showed crowds of people in Shanghai drinking and dancing on the street as they were interrupted by police telling them to go home.

China’s strict zero-Covid policy has frustrated residents, many of whom have been quarantined in crowded facilities.

Consistent lockdowns have also impacted the world’s second-largest economy, leaving investors worried.

Raw material prices and supply-chain chaos caused by restrictions have squeezed profit margins and disrupted industrial output.

As much of the rest of the world returns to normal life with no restrictions, China said it needed to save lives and prevent its healthcare system from being overwhelmed as the rapid spread of the Omicron variant continues.

Now the partial reopening of some outlets in Beijing has been welcomed by residents and struggling shopkeepers eager for life to return to normal. The capital also allowed gyms, cinemas and parks to reopen on Sunday at half their capacities.

Meanwhile, more than 10,000 bankers and traders in Shanghai’s financial sector who have been living in their offices since the start of the lockdown are gradually returning home and more than 100 bank outlets resumed operations as of Friday, local news reports said.

Restaurants, however, remain closed in Beijing besides takeaway and delivery outlets. And in Shanghai, the country’s commercial city, citizens are only allowed to go out for a limited time period if they have special passes, even as new case numbers have dropped significantly.

“If these measures are implemented effectively, we can prevent a rebound of the epidemic even if there are sporadic cases, so don't worry,” said Sun Xiaodong, deputy director of the Shanghai Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Saturday, China reported 293 new cases, of which 78 were among those coming to the country from overseas, according to the Associated Press. Local news reported that most of the non-imported cases, about 122, were in Shanghai.

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