Beijing, Shanghai ease epidemic curbs as outbreaks ebb

Beijing,


Beijing/Shanghai, May 31 : Two days ago, U-Town Mall in Beijing's Chaoyang district welcomed a batch of eager shoppers after business had been suspended for weeks due to the latest Covid-19 flare-ups. "Many have phoned to check our business hours after yesterday's press conference, which informed that shopping malls could resume business on Sunday. There's not a lot of traffic today, mostly parents bringing their children to the play zone," said a staffer. The Chinese capital saw just one community case of Covid-19 in the city from May 27 to 3 p.m. Monday, and the number of single-day new infections is on a downward trend, data from the Beijing Municipal Health Commission shows. In response, Beijing loosened epidemic response restrictions on Sunday in non-quarantined areas, with multiple measures rolled out to facilitate work resumption and normal social order, Xinhua news agency reported. Xu Hejian, a Spokesperson for the Beijing Municipal government, said at Sunday's press conference that the delivery of take-out orders is stable and orderly and relevant departments would work harder to ensure supply and stabilise prices. "Every day of business suspension means huge costs and unpredictable delays in production," said Simon Lichtenberg, Founder and CEO of Trayton Group. For more than two months, the Danish businessman has been yearning for work resumption in Shanghai. Now, the group's furniture factory in the city's Minhang district has resumed work for about 20 days. Shanghai has, since mid-April, released three "white lists" involving a total of more than 3,000 enterprises to accelerate the resumption of work and production. "Our factory officially resumed production on May 12. Now about half of our usual output has been recovered," Lichtenberg added. The factory's closed-loop production has been quite smooth, and some customised sofas are ready for delivery. "We're like a family and the workers even do the morning run together. I can see the vibrant scene of work resumption," he said. The financial hub with a population of 25 million announced on May 17 that it had cut off the community transmission of Covid-19 in all its 16 districts. To coordinate Covid-19 control with economic development, the Municipal government of Shanghai on Sunday launched an action plan to speed up economic recovery. Under the plan, composed of 50 policies and measures, the city's approval system for production resumption will be abandoned starting June 1. At the same time, the city will promote work resumption in all sectors by expanding the scope of subsidies for enterprises' epidemic prevention and disinfection, stabilising industrial and supply chains in the Yangtze river delta, and smoothing domestic and international logistics and transportation channels. Measures will also be adopted to stabilise foreign capital, encourage consumption, and expand investment. Lichtenberg is looking forward to the action plan. "Some of us haven't seen each other for a long time, and we really need to get together to work." /IANS




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