Shanghai yesterday reopened a small part of the world’s longest subway system after some lines had been closed for almost two months, as the city paves the way for a more complete lifting of its painful COVID-19 lockdown next week.
With most residents not allowed to leave their homes and restrictions tightening in parts of China’s most populous city, commuters early yesterday needed strong reasons to travel.
Shanghai’s lockdown and curbs in other cities have battered consumption, industrial output and other sectors of the Chinese economy in recent months, prompting pledges of support from policymakers.
Many who ventured out in the commercial hub wore blue protective gowns and face shields. Inside the carriages, passengers were seen keeping some empty seats between themselves. Crowds were small.
Xu Jihua, a migrant construction worker, arrived at a subway stop before it opened at 7am, hoping to get to a rail station, then home to the eastern province of Anhui.
“Work stopped on March 16,” Xu said, adding that he had not been able to earn his monthly 7,000-to-8,000 yuan (US$1,046 to US$1,195) salary since then and would only return to Shanghai once he was sure he could find work.
Four of the 20 lines reopened, and 273 bus routes. Some had closed in late March, others later, although sporadic service continued with a limited number of stops.
The city of 25 million expects to lift its citywide lockdown and return to more normal life from Wednesday next week. Most restrictions on movement would remain in place this month.
Shanghai’s 800km metro system averaged 7.7 million rides a day in 2020, according to the latest data, with an annual passenger throughput of 2.8 billion.
Trains are to run 20 minutes apart for limited hours. Commuters must scan their body temperature at the entrance and show negative results of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests taken within 48 hours.
Shanghai has gradually reopened convenience stores and wholesale markets, and allowed more people to walk out of their homes, with community transmissions largely eliminated.
Still, parts of the city have recently tightened curbs, underlying the difficulty of resuming normal life under China’s “zero COVID-19” policy, which is increasingly at odds with the rest of the world.
Jingan, a key commercial district, said on Saturday it would require all shops to shut and residents to stay home until at least tomorrow, as it carries out mass testing.
The use of exit permits, previously given to residents that allowed them to leave their homes for short walks, will be suspended, authorities said without giving a reason.
An uncrewed Chinese spacecraft has acquired imagery data covering all of Mars, including visuals of its south pole, after circling the planet more than 1,300 times since early last year, state media reported yesterday. The Tianwen-1 successfully reached the Red Planet in February last year on the country’s inaugural mission there. A robotic rover has since been deployed on the surface as an orbiter surveyed the planet from space. Among the images taken from space were China’s first photographs of the Martian south pole, where almost all of the planet’s water resources are locked. In 2018, an orbiting probe operated by the European
QUARANTINE SHORTENED: A new protocol detailing risk levels and local policy responses would be ‘more scientific and accurate,’ a health agency spokesman said China’s revised COVID-19 guidelines, which cut a quarantine requirement in half for inbound travelers, also create a standardized policy for mass testing and lockdowns when cases of the disease flare, showing that the country still has a zero-tolerance approach to the virus. Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) solidified the position during a trip to Wuhan, where the pathogen first emerged in 2019, saying that China is capable of achieving a “final victory” over the virus. The “zero COVID-19” policy is the most effective and economic approach for the country, Xi said during the trip on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported. The first
A former South Korean Navy SEAL turned YouTuber who risked jail time to leave Seoul and fight for Ukraine said it would have been a “crime” not to use his skills to help. Ken Rhee, a former special warfare officer, signed up at the Ukrainian embassy in Seoul the moment Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asked for global volunteers and was fighting on the front lines near Kyiv by early March. To get there, he had to break South Korean law — Seoul banned its citizens from traveling to Ukraine, and Rhee, who was injured in a fall while leading a special operations
Yogesh Zanzamera lays out his bed on the floor of the factory where he works and lives, one of about 2 million Indians polishing diamonds in an industry being hit hard by the war in Ukraine. With the air reeking from the only toilet for 35to 40 people, conditions at workshops such as this in Gujarat state leave workers at risk of lung disease, deteriorating vision and other illnesses. However, Zanzamera and others like him have other more immediate worries: the faraway war in Europe and the resulting sanctions on Russia, India’s biggest supplier of “rough” gemstones and a long-standing strategic ally. “There