A worker in a protective suit is pictured behind barriers sealing off an area in a city.

Shanghai aims to reopen more businesses shuttered by COVID, Beijing fights back

Shanghai will gradually start reopening businesses such as shopping malls and hair salons in China’s financial and manufacturing hub from Monday after weeks of strict COVID-19 lockdown, while Beijing battles a small but stubborn outbreak.

Almost closed for more than six weeks, Shanghai is tightening restrictions in some areas it hopes will mark a final push in its campaign against the virus, which has infuriated and exhausted residents of China’s largest and most cosmopolitan city.

Malls, department stores and supermarkets will begin to resume in-store operations and allow customers to shop “in an orderly fashion”, while hair salons and vegetable markets will reopen with limited capacity, said Vice Mayor Chen Tong at a press conference on Sunday.

He gave no details on the pace or extent of those reopenings, and many residents online reacted with skepticism.

“Who are you lying to? We can’t even get out of our compound. You can open, nobody can go in,” said a user of Weibo, a Chinese Twitter account, whose IP address said it was from from Shanghai.

During Shanghai’s lockdown, residents were mostly limited to shopping for basic necessities, with normal shopping on online platforms largely suspended due to a shortage of couriers.

And while barbers and hairdressers have had their hair cut on the streets or in the open areas of housing complexes, residents recently able to leave their homes for a few hours at a time to walk or buy groceries are generally appeared more disheveled than usual.

Outlier approach

China’s strict ‘dynamic zero’ approach to COVID has put hundreds of millions of people in dozens of cities under varying degrees of curbs in a bid to eliminate the spread of the disease. .

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