China’s Chengdu lifts city lockdown from Monday

The Chinese megacity of Chengdu will resume normal life and social order from Monday (Sep 19), after a city-wide lockdown was imposed on Sep 1 to contain a Covid-19 outbreak, said a statement from the local government.

Local residents still need to have at least 1 Covid test each week; and negative results within 72 hours are needed for entering public venues and taking public transportation, according to the statement.

The capital of Sichuan province, Chengdu is the biggest city to have shut since Shanghai's bruising 2-month lockdown earlier this year. The brief lockdown in Chengdu followed that of Shenzhen and Zhengzhou, which also deployed 7-day citywide restrictions. Strict, quick action to stamp out Covid is key to China's zero-tolerance approach to the virus, which President Xi Jinping has touted as a success.

The city, with 21 million people, said that schools will resume and public venues such as restaurants and museums can reopen.

Chengdu locked down as the Communist Party prepared for the twice-a-decade leadership summit, slated to take place in October, when Xi is expected to break precedent by securing a third term in office. His opening address at the event will be scrutinised for signals on whether China will shift from trying to eliminate the virus to living with it like the rest of the world.

Covid measures added to the hardships that residents in Chengdu and the wider Sichuan province experienced this summer. 

The province saw record-breaking heat waves that led to droughts and forest fires, with the government introducing rolling power cuts to conserve electricity. A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck western Sichuan last week, with tremors being felt in Chengdu. Some residents complained on social media that when they went to evacuate, the fire exits in their buildings had been sealed due to the lockdown. Bloomberg

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