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Shanghai opens – but it’s slow

Since the beginning of April, most of Shanghai’s 25 million residents have been forced to stay home and get tested for the coronavirus every day. For two weeks now, news has been circulating about how the community is gradually opening up and that residents have been allowed to take to the streets again.

But the changes are small, notes Mikael Gustafson, who has lived and worked in Shanghai for three years.

There are new ordinances all the time but the basis is the same in principle. You don’t want people to be able to go out and meet others and spread the infection.

– And then you change her name. It was said a while ago that “from Monday we will have a” period of “three days” of silence, but what does that mean after that? It’s similar to closure but just a new name. And for a while it wasn’t said that we were on lockdown but in areas of high, medium or low risk.

you have to walk

Last Saturday, for the first time in nearly two months, Mikael Gustafsson says he was allowed out of his fenced residential area – previously only allowed to leave the apartment to go down to the yard and have been tested for coronavirus there. In the future, he will have to go out for two hours every two days.

After receiving special permission to come to the residential area guard, he was able to stroll the neighborhood and describe deserted Shanghai where most things are still off-limits.

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– We live in the middle of the city, so I went down to our Nanjing Main Street and stood in the middle of the intersection to another big street. It was completely empty. This crossing cannot be crossed when he is a green man under normal circumstances. Now I stood there alone.

Mikael Gustafson says that acquaintances who also had to leave their residential areas give similar descriptions – unfortunately empty streets and even eager to return home safely.

– I saw two grocery stores open. They had set up riot fences outside and folds to get in, and they had a lot of guards. But I actually didn’t want to go there. If you get infected, you are sent on your way to private hospitals and no one wants to go there.

police inspection

Mikael Gustafsson also had to leave the residential area to receive a third dose of the vaccine. With a special permit and transportation arranged by the employer, the trip went to a hospital nine kilometers from home.

– There are police searches all over town, he says.

– On the way home we stopped twice, but the driver did not really know the PCR tests. On the first check, he managed to pass, but in the second, only a few hundred meters from where we live, he had to immediately take a self-test and then the police released him.

As of today, June 1, the message is that the city will reopen. Although Mikael Gustafson says it is the gradual opening that begins.

Slow changes are annoying. In several places, neighbors gathered to protest and try to get out of their residential areas – some succeeded and some did not. Mikael Gustafson talks about one of his colleagues who protested with his neighbors.

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– There were 100-150 people on the street. The police were waiting for them but they did nothing but listen. There was someone standing there scolding the police.

The fellow and his neighbors succeeded in their protest and could now move somewhat freely outside the area. But not all protests succeeded.

– Our guards are here, they have a mandate. They are usually very cute, but they do have a pond. Mikael Gustafson says you don’t risk disobedience in this country.

leave a lot

Restrictions and uncertainty about the future caused many foreigners to leave the city.

– There are many who are moving. Especially families with children moved. Some companies take work to Singapore where it is more free.

Mikael Gustafson says many businesses are concerned about the possibility of business continuing in the city, even after opening.

One case is enough and everything is closed again. So everyone expects there will be shutdowns, maybe not as big as they are now but I think many are adamant that this life will be very limited for a long time to come.

“9,000 little booths have been set up, they look like little ticket booths, huge plastic gloves come out of the box. You have to go in there and test yourself. The idea is that you have to test yourself every two days and you don’t get a green code (in your health app),” says Mikael Gustavsson. . Without it, you won’t get anywhere.” Photo: Mikael Gustafson

There are few cars on the streets of Shanghai and it is close between police checkpoints.  Picture from last Friday.

There are few cars on the streets of Shanghai and it is close between police checkpoints. Picture from last Friday. Photo: Andrew Braun/AP/TT

Michael Gustafson.

Michael Gustafson. Photo: private

Early in the month, from March to April, Shanghai was almost completely shut down, in line with China’s zero-tolerance line. The reason was the widespread spread of covid-19. At most, about 25,000 new cases are found in a single day.

A total of 62,990 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the city. Last month, 3,920 cases were confirmed.

A total of 595 deaths related to the coronavirus have been recorded in Shanghai, of which 134 were in the past month.

The closure of Shanghai, one of the most important financial centers in the world, had dire consequences, not only for China but also for the entire global economy.

Source: Johns Hopkins University