Shanghai’s senior party leader declared triumph over Covid on Saturday after the city registered no new local cases for the first time in two months.
Beijing said on Saturday that it will permit elementary and secondary schools to restart in-person instruction.
The Omicron wave expanded throughout China from March to May, and the two largest cities took measures to slow it down. Shanghai imposed a two-month citywide lockdown that ended on June 1.
The initiatives, which are a component of China’s adherence to a zero-Covid policy that seeks to exterminate all outbreaks, have reduced the number of cases, but many of the strident tactics have stoked resentment and even a few unusual demonstrations, as well as taken a significant economic toll.
In response to an increase in locally spread Covid infections, Beijing closed its schools in the first part of May and ordered pupils to switch to online study. Beginning on June 2, middle and high school seniors were permitted to return to their classes.
The capital’s education committee said on Saturday that all primary and secondary school children in the capital can resume attending in-person courses starting on Monday since case numbers have been trending lower in recent days. Beginning on July 4, kindergartens will be able to reopen.
Separately, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports announced that, except for basement facilities, sports activities for children can resume on June 27 in non-school places where no community cases have been documented for seven days running.
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For the first time since February 23, Shanghai, the economic center of China, reported no new local cases on June 24—both symptomatic and asymptomatic.
Li Qiang, the leader of the Shanghai Communist Party
Li Qiang, the leader of the Shanghai Communist Party, said that Beijing’s actions to avoid the outbreak were “absolutely justified” and that authorities had “won the struggle to safeguard Shanghai” from Covid during the opening of the city’s party congress on Saturday.
However, the city is still on edge. The majority of pupils are still not able to attend lessons in person, and eating indoors is still prohibited. Additionally, it intends to carry out mass PCR tests on all of its 25 million inhabitants every weekend until the end of July.
The southern city of Shenzhen, which imposed a week-long lockdown in March, said on Saturday that it will close all theatres, parks, and public activities in the Futian area after six local cases were found there on Friday, emphasizing the ongoing problems in eradicating Omicron.
Restaurants in the area, which has a population of around 1.55 million and is home to the city government’s offices as well as the headquarters of Chinese insurance giant Ping An, will similarly be limited to 50% of their normal restaurant capacity, according to officials.
In addition, the city now requires residents to present a negative Covid-19 test result from a test taken within the previous 24 hours rather than the previous 48 hours to enter public venues, effectively requiring people to test daily to enter locations like malls or use public transportation.