Beijing, Shanghai residents back to work as China eases into living with COVID – Reuters

by | Dec 25, 2022 | COVID-19

BEIJING/SHANGHAI, Dec 26 (Reuters) – Mask-wearing Beijing and Shanghai commuters crowded subway trains on Monday, with China’s two biggest cities moving closer to living with COVID-19, as millions have been infected with the virus across the country.After years of ruthless anti-coronavirus curbs, President Xi Jinping scrapped the country’s zero-COVID policy in the face of protests and a widening outbreak.But after the initial shock of the policy U-turn, and a few weeks in which people in Beijing and Shanghai stayed indoors, either dealing with the disease or trying to avoid it, there are signs that life is on course to returning closer to normal.Subway trains in Beijing and Shanghai were packed, while some major traffic arteries in the two cities jammed with slow-moving cars on Monday as residents commuted to work.An annual Christmas market held at the Bund, a commercial area in Shanghai, was also crowded over the weekend. Crowds thronged the winter festive season at Shanghai Disneyland and Beijing’s Universal Studios on Sunday, queuing up for rides in Christmas-themed outfits.The number of trips to scenic spots in the southern city of Guangzhou this weekend increased by 132% from last weekend, local newspaper The 21st Century Business Herald reported.China is the last major country to move toward treating COVID as endemic. Its containment measures had slowed the $17-trillion economy to its lowest growth rate in nearly half a century, disrupting global supply chains and trade.The economy is expected to suffer further in the short-term, as the COVID wave spreads toward manufacturing areas and workforces fall ill, before bouncing back next year, analysts say.Tesla suspended production at its Shanghai plant on Saturday, bringing ahead a plan to pause most work at the plant in the last week of December. The company did not give a reason.RISING WAVEDespite a record surge of cases nationwide, China reported no COVID deaths on the mainland for the six days through Sunday, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday, even as crematories faced surging demand.China has narrowed its definition for classifying deaths as COVID-related, counting only those involving COVID-caused pneumonia or respiratory failure, raising eyebrows among world health experts.The country’s health care system has been under enormous strain, with …

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