Normal life gradually resumes in China

By Wan Lin and Zhao Yusha

Chinese across the country are gradually returning to normal life amid a diminishing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. Many provinces have announced full production recovery among industries and have relaxed restrictions on public destinations.

Officials in Northeast China’s Liaoning Province said lodging and catering businesses could resume normal operations without pre-production constraints.

In Liaoning’s capital city, Shenyang, entertainment venues including bars, karaoke venues, massage parlors, beauty salons, and gyms have gradually reopened to the public.

Other cities have resumed business operations in dining, entertainment, and other industries after no new infections had reported.

In Chengdu, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, over 82 percent of all retail and shopping centers reopened on Friday, reported Chengdu-based Hongxing News. Public service facilities such as museums, cultural centers, and art galleries in East China’s Jiangxi Province were also up and running for visitors via an online reservation system to control visitor flow.

Businesses and institutes have experienced gradual return rates among employees and have asked them to switch from working remotely to in-office or onsite.

An employee from a Beijing-based building research center told the Global Times that his institute asked employees from one department, about 40 persons, to return to work next week.

“Previously, we just went to the office in groups. Next week, all employees have been asked to come to the office. Also, the canteen has been asked to serve everyone food, and they should eat at their desks,” said the employee, who requested anonymity. 

A project contractor surnamed Wu from Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality told the Global Times that he is ready to return to Northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, as the local government informed him that his project would resume.

Wu instructed his employees to get their health certificates from the local government, and their vehicles, equipment, and paperwork could fall under scrutiny from local authorities upon returning to Ningxia.

Fifteen provinces and regions have announced return dates for students in certain grades, mainly high school seniors who need to prepare for their college entrance exams in June.

East China’s Jiangsu Province was the first to announce school schedules on Saturday, implementing non-peak hour schedules to avoid traffic congestion, and allowing high school seniors and middle school students to return on March 30, followed by lower grades on April 7, with college students returning last on April 13.

As China eliminates new COVID-19 cases on the mainland to reduce the number to zero, epidemic prevention measures have been relaxed.

In Zhengzhou, Central China’s Henan Province, 38 epidemic prevention service stations along the city’s expressways and major streets that were set up during the COVID-19 outbreak were removed on Tuesday, signaling a loosening up of the city’s transportation lockdown.

Restrictions on public places have been lifted in Ningbo, East China’s Zhejiang Province. Other than checkups for those entering hospitals, people do not need to have their temperatures screened or undergo further inspections at public destinations and within residential communities.

Although epidemic prevention management systems have loosened, necessary measures remain in place to safeguard against new infections.

Most cities still require people to show their QR health codes to reveal quarantine status before using public transportation or major thoroughfares. Only those with a green code are allowed to move freely. 

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