A number of districts in Southwest China's Sichuan Province's capital of Chengdu, home to over 21 million residents, and the "Hawaii of China" Sanya in South China's Hainan Province, emerged from static management on Thursday and will resume normal life and production, after no new COVID-19 cases were found at the community level in recent days, authorities announced.
The decision was made based on an improved situation of epidemic prevention and control, read the announcements issued by local health authorities.
It took two weeks for Chengdu to emerge from static management. The city asked its residents not to leave their homes unless necessary to cope with the latest COVID-19 spike on September 1. So far, it has reported some 1,950 locally transmitted cases in the recent outbreak, data from the city's health commission showed.
As the temporary measures were lifted, residents now need to provide negative nucleic acid test results taken within 48 hours upon entering public venues and taking public transport, and must report their health status to their work units on a daily basis.
On Thursday, Chengdu organized another round of regional mass nucleic acid screening. Key groups of personnel in key industries vulnerable to spreading the virus must take the tests, and for those who do not attend, warnings will be put into their health codes, the notice said.
Entertainment venues including bars, gyms, museums and libraries will remain temporarily closed. Large-scale on-site meetings and performances should be suspended. Schools and kindergartens will remain suspended.
Dine-in services in these areas are expected to gradually resume, the notice added, noting that people and vehicles should not leave the region and go to high- or medium-risk places where static management is still in effect, except for special public service staffers whose work is required for residents' basic lives and the basic operation of the city.
When reached by the Global Times on Thursday, a Chengdu resident surnamed Zeng said he went out on the street today after his community gate reopened, and there were only a few people. "I knew that our government would not hold us there for a long time and I never ran out of supplies. The only thing I worried during the lockdown was gaining weight from eating too much," Zeng said.
Chengdu detected 22 new locally confirmed cases within 24 hours on Wednesday, all of whom were people under quarantine, authorities said at a press conference on Thursday, while reminding locals to remain vigilant toward the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
Sanya, one of the most popular travel destinations in China, imposed temporary static management on August 6 following a sudden outbreak, leaving some 80,000 tourists from across the nation stranded, who were given hotel concessions to ease their financial burden.
By late August, about 20 days after the measure was taken, Sanya announced that the local epidemic situation had been effectively curbed. As of Tuesday, the city reported 6,592 confirmed cases and 9,054 silent carriers in this round of flare-ups, authorities said on Wednesday.
When the notice of the removal of the static management was released, Sanya residents swarmed outside, laughing, running and celebrating with fireworks, showed videos uploaded the same day on China's social media platforms.
A local resident told the Global Times on condition of anonymity on Thursday that the minute after the end of the one and a half month lockdown, she ran out of her home and went riding. "When I saw the elderly ladies showing up once again selling fresh fruit from trucks, I was thrilled to realize that the lockdown was finally over," she said.
"It's even merrier than celebrating the New Year," a B&B owner in Sanya surnamed Lai told the Global Times. "I went to the beach to see the ocean once the notice was released. I have never seen so few people on the beach, and I was a little sad. But no worries ... I believe the tourists will come back once the static management is over."
Supermarkets, shopping malls, restaurants and outdoor public venues will resume operation, as well as buses and taxis, while dine-in services are still suspended, Sanya authorities said on Thursday. It added that fishery production will not resume at the moment.
Negative nucleic acid test results obtained within 48 hours will be needed to enter communities and public venues.
Regular nucleic acid testing was also arranged starting on Thursday, Sanya authorities said, requiring residents and tourists to take one test every two days and one test per day for staff in some 23 key venues and industries.
Huang Ziting contributed to the story.