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Major cities in China re-open following decline in COVID-19 cases



Image Source: REUTERS

As the number of recorded Covid cases nationwide sharply dropped to 20 a day, major Chinese cities Beijing and Shanghai eased their control on businesses and major economic hubs. Health departments received 20 new cases nationwide – a huge percentage drop from the 54 infected individuals that were reported a day ago.

The Beijing government reported only eight new Covid cases last Sunday, while the Shanghai metropolitan area saw six.

Just two months ago, the Chinese government ordered its citizens to stay inside their homes for mass virus testing. However, it was only a month ago that Beijing imposed stricter controls on its citizens.

In the face of a steep downswing in cases, authorities have decided to relax restrictions and provide space for major economic hubs to breathe economically.

Businesses in Shanghai can now re-open their doors without the need for approval starting Wednesday. The city’s authorities have announced several initiatives to help businesses and engage consumers as they recover from an economic downturn.

The city of Shanghai has announced that they will offer 10 thousand yuan ($1,493) as an incentive for citizens who switch to battery-powered cars.

The largest city in the state has declared that only 220,000 are most restricted from getting out of their homes. The remaining 22 million were already permitted to resume normal routines outside their houses.

Meanwhile, the government has announced that many businesses in Beijing will be opening soon – including a luxury mall and an amusement park called Happy Valley Beijing.

The Beijing government has already allowed more people to resume work and open public transport. If the downtrend continues, they say that some several public spaces should also be opened up for half their capacity – like libraries, museums, and gyms, among others.

However, the city of Beijing has not fully re-opened yet. Elementary and middle schools are still closed, while restaurants can only provide takeout or delivery services until they get the all-clear from health officials.

Both major cities in China have taken serious protocols to counter the recent outbreaks of Covid, including the presentation of a valid negative virus test to enter public areas. For Beijing, the validity of the test lasts for 48 hours, while in Shanghai, authorities said that it would lengthen its validity to 72 hours.

Even with the developments, there is still uncertainty regarding the pace and method with which businesses can recover.

Many clients in Beijing “question the magnitude of the growth rebound” amid the ease of controls, says Goldman Sachs analysts on Sunday.

“Local clients worry about scarring effects from anti-pandemic measures and growth slowdown, which include heightened uncertainties around economic and policy outlook, a higher number of bankruptcies and elevated unemployment rates,” the analysts said.

Based in LA, Donna Barts is a senior repoter for Kivo Daily. She primarily covers entrepreneurs.