Shanghai will gradually restore the offline operations of local malls, markets, eateries, hair salons and other businesses from today to guarantee basic daily supplies to its residents, the city’s vice mayor announced.

The principle is to open in an orderly manner with limited movement and effective COVID-19 pandemic control and classified management, Chen Tong said yesterday.

The number of visitors will be limited, with separate entrances and exits at the reopened shopping complexes, department stores, supermarkets and pharmacies.

Wet markets will control both the number of stalls and visitor flows, while wholesale markets will limit the number of buyers and suspend retail services, Chen told the city’s daily COVID-19 press briefing.

The number of reopened commercial outlets has increased to 10,625 from less than 1,400 during the peak of the pandemic, Chen noted. More than 5 million online orders are being delivered every day.

The city will keep driving the restoration of all eligible businesses and allow their employees to return to work to ensure daily supplies, he added.

Restaurants will only receive online orders and offer takeaway meals, while hair salons and laundry-related businesses will provide limited and staggered services.

These businesses are being asked to make full COVID-19 prevention plans and conduct preventative disinfection before reopening to customers.

The “venue QR code” and the all-in-one machine for health code scanning, ID verification and temperature check, also known as “digital sentinel,” must be deployed at entrances.

Customers are also reminded to obey the rules, wear self protection, scan the venue code before entering sites and maintain social distance.

“We believe more businesses will reopen with the further improvement in the city’s pandemic situation to allow residents to enjoy better services,” Chen remarked.

Meanwhile, the city government will keep supplying daily necessities to “locked-down and controlled areas.” The market watchdog will impose strict supervision on the quality and food safety of gift packs. Residents are welcome to report issues through the hotline 12315, the vice mayor said.

Across the city, 183 chain supermarkets and 673 convenient stores had restored offline operations as of Saturday. Many other stores have also reopened but are only accepting online orders, according to Gu Jun, director of the Shanghai Commerce Commission.

A total of 118,000 deliverymen have got approval to return to work. They have been asked to take a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test and two antigen tests every day. Courier and e-commerce firms are required to offer them protective gear and conduct frequent inspections.

The city has built 267 service stations for delivery staff to take rest, drink water or have meals, with 90 percent of them also providing accommodation, Gu revealed.

With the coronavirus resurgence continuing to trend in a positive direction, the city government is devising a general plan to gradually resume normal life and production.

The three emergency area classifications — locked-down, controlled and precautionary — will be gradually downgraded to the former high, medium and low-risk designations.

Students, who are taking part in college and high school entrance exams, which have been postponed by a month to early July, will be the first to return to school.

More hospitals and medical institutes will reopen, and more non-urgent surgeries will be performed.

Governmental service windows will also reopen with extended hours.

The city government has updated the “zero community transmission” standard, the primary target of the city’s battle against COVID-19, after assessing the local campaign during the surge and factoring in experts’ opinions.

The “basic zero community transmission” is considered achieved in a district when less than one positive case has been found in every 100,000 residents in the district’s areas outside closed-loop management, including “precautionary and controlled areas,” for three consecutive days.

If there is no new case in these areas in a district for three consecutive days, it will be given a “zero community transmission” designation.

The principle of “dynamic zero-COVID-19” doesn’t mean there will be zero infection. Even if there is a small number of new infections, the risk is controllable, Wu Qing, Shanghai’s executive vice mayor, said on Friday.

“Dynamic zero community transmission” means every new case can be promptly dealt with by quickly cutting off the transmission chain on the community level and reducing the number of community infections to zero, he explained.

After all districts receive the “zero community transmission” designation, a return to normal life will be managed with site codes, temperature checks and code-scanning machines deployed across the city.

Besides, five of the 10 city-level makeshift hospitals, mainly in the suburban districts, have been closed, Ding Bo, a city official in charge of the transportation of COVID-19 patients, said over the weekend.

The makeshift hospitals at the Shanghai International Circuit in Jiading District, on Canghai Road in Pudong’s Lingang area, on Changxing Island of Chongming District and on Tianhua Road in Jinshan District were closed last week. The Jiahe Xinyuan makeshift hospital was shut at the end of April.

At present, there are 50,000 patients under medical observation or treatment at makeshift hospitals, only 20 percent of the peak number, Ding pointed out.

Shanghai launched its first city-level makeshift hospital at the Jiahe Xinyuan talent apartment on March 24.

Since then, the city has provided a total of 195,000 beds for COVID-19 patients at the temporary facilities, including many repurposed from exhibition centers and stadiums and some newly built facilities.

The temporary facilities mainly serve COVID-19 infections with mild symptoms, asymptomatic cases and child infections. The children are accompanied by family members.

During the peak period of the coronavirus resurgence, there were 86,400 patients in city-level makeshift hospitals, and 184,800 in district-level makeshift sites.

All the 68 district-level transfer sites have been shut down. More than 95 percent of the 288 planned makeshift hospitals within local schools have been cleared, followed by strict cleaning, disinfection and safety evaluation.

Ding said that the transfer, reception and discharge processes at the remaining makeshift hospitals will be further improved.

For instance, family members will be allowed to live in the same area, despite not being infected simultaneously.

Senior patients will be discharged along with their family members to make sure they can be escorted home.

Furthermore, some study rooms for students have been prepared at large makeshift hospitals such as the National Exhibition and Convention Center.

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