The Chinese city of Shanghai, the country’s economic centre and a global trade hub, has eased COVID-19 curbs after a two-month lockdown.
At midnight local time (16:00 GMT Tuesday), restrictions were relaxed to allow most people to move freely around the city of some 25 million people. But at least 650,000 residents will remain confined to their homes.
China’s overall policy of “Zero COVID” remains in place and people catching COVID-19 face quarantine or hospital.
Their close contacts also face the prospect of removal to quarantine and the area immediately around where they live being locked down again.
“This is a day that we dreamed of for a very long time,” Shanghai government spokeswoman Yin Xin told reporters.
“Everyone has sacrificed a lot. This day has been hard-won and we need to cherish and protect it, and welcome back the Shanghai we are familiar with and missed.”
E-commerce professional Chen Ying was planning to work from home after the lockdown was eased, but she told AFP news agency she might treat her two-year-old son to a long-awaited walk outside.
“We should have been free to begin with, so don’t expect me to be deeply grateful now they’ve given it back to us,” she added.