China's Chengdu says to gradually return to normal after COVID lockdown

·2 min read
People walk on Jinli Ancient Street in Chengdu

BEIJING (Reuters) - The southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu will resume production and life "in an orderly manner" from Monday following more than two weeks of COVID-19 lockdowns and other strict curbs, local authorities said on Sunday.

The announcement came after the city of more than 21 million on Thursday lifted a lockdown imposed from Sept. 1, the largest Chinese metropolis hit with curbs since Shanghai's lockdown in April and May.

"The epidemic has been effectively controlled," Sunday's notice said, adding the city would continue to strengthen COVID prevention measures through a number of new rules.

From midnight on Monday, public transport and work across governments, institutions and companies will resume, the notice said. But proof of a negative COVID test result within 72 hours will be needed to enter public areas or take public transport, in line with similar rules in other large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

Bars, mahjong rooms, gyms, swimming pools and other indoor entertainment or leisure venues will open "in an orderly manner" and once opened, will be required to check for proof of a negative COVID test result within 48 hours.

High schools will open "one at a time" and returning students will be strictly tested and offline group activities, events or performances will be discouraged.

"If you do need to hold such an activity, it should be strictly approved in accordance with the principle of "who approves, who is responsible" and "who holds, who is responsible", the notice added.

China has been battling to contain outbreaks of highly transmissible Omicron variants, imposing lockdowns of various degrees to stop the spread. Following Shanghai's extended lockdown, the cities of Xian, Shenzhen and Guiyang have also recently undergone lockdowns and restrictions.

(Reporting by Martin Quin Pollard; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)