With President Xi Jinping paying his first visit to Wuhan on 10 March, there’s a sense that the government is envisaging life soon returning to normal.
After weeks of quarantine, Shanghai is now slowly reopening. These days public places are full of people bursting out from their imposed isolation: skateboarding, jogging, walking their dogs, laughing. Many here in Shanghai say that China is the safest place now.
Limitations, however, remain in place. Movie theaters are opening again, although movie-goers are only able to sit in non-adjacent seats in every other row. Similarly, restaurants are open, but with some steps before sitting and separation between diners. Commuters are back in their cars, seeing Shanghai roads almost as busy as they were before the coronavirus outbreak.
Yet as things appear to be showing more promise in China, ironically, Shanghai appears to now face a greater threat of new infections from outside its borders as it continues to slow the spread of the virus domestically.
Despite the uptick in imported cases in Shanghai, the city is getting ready to re-open all its public parks by March 20, Fang Yan, an official from Shanghai’s Landscaping and City Appearance Administrative Bureau, told a press conference on Saturday.
A total of 195 city parks have reopened so far after “the war against coronavirus situation showed positive changes”, Fang said. Thousands of public venues had earlier been shut across China in order to contain the virus.
The city’s flagship Shanghai Museum and well-known landmark the Oriental Pearl Tower have both reopened, said culture and tourism official Zhang Qi.
But Shanghai is following Beijing in suspending public funerals, instead offering grave-cleaning and flower services at cemeteries as the annual Qingming tomb-sweeping festival on April 4 approaches.