Cities in NE China's Jilin to resume normal life, production
Published: Apr 27, 2022 09:24 PM
Buses carrying medical workers from northwest China's Shaanxi Province run on the street to leave Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province, April 24, 2022.Photo:Xinhua

Buses carrying medical workers from northwest China's Shaanxi Province run on the street to leave Changchun, northeast China's Jilin Province, April 24, 2022.Photo:Xinhua

The cities of Changchun and Jilin in Northeast China's Jilin Province will phase out citywide closed-off management gradually from Thursday, according to local authorities. The cities will resume normal life and production in an orderly manner.

Although the lockdown will be removed, it does not mean that the cities's epidemic prevention and control work will be relaxed, officials said.

In Changchun, the city will be divided into three zones based on the risk levels for pandemic prevention and control, and the part of the city with the least pressure for outbreak will lift restrictions from Thursday. 

In this zone, one person per household will be allowed to travel each day. Citizens should not leave the main city if they do not have to. City and provincial traffic will be gradually restored. Online and physical retailers and wholesalers will resume operations.

The other two zones will gradually lift restrictions later.

Changchun and Jilin will also observe a transitional period after the unsealing, during which residents must undergo nucleic acid testing.

This news of the unsealing came about two weeks after the communities in the two cities had been cleared of cases.

The two cities choose to gradually reduce controls only 14 days after the clearance of infections in the communities, which is a very cautious approach that took into account the experience of the early days of the epidemic, Yang Zhanqiu, a Wuhan-based virologist, told the Global Times.

"Since the incubation period of the recently prevalent Omicron strain is usually very short, at around two to three days, the fact that no new cases were found in the communities for 14 days means that the probability of this wave of the epidemic continuing to spread is very small," Yang said.

Because of the short incubation period of Omicron, the frequency of nucleic acid testing of residents can remain at a high level, Yang noted.

It has been nearly two months since the initial cases of this wave were discovered in Jilin Province. Many citizens told the Global Times that they have been at home under closed-off management for more than six weeks.

"I'm informed that the closed-off management is expected to be removed starting tomorrow. One person from each family will be able to leave the neighborhood every day," a Changchun resident surnamed Zou told the Global Times. "But I'm not sure if we'll be able to resume normal life very soon."

"My family and I have been at home for 48 days and we are all getting anxious," he said. "Yet, as there is no infection in my neighborhood, residents are still able to go downstairs for a walk."

Another Changchun resident surnamed Zhang told the Global Times that he has been under lockdown since March 2 and has not yet been notified of the removal of closed-off management. 

"My neighborhood is not expected to be one of the first neighborhoods to be lifted from lockdown, because of the high number of previous infections in this area," he said.

A Jilin resident surnamed Li who previously volunteered at a makeshift hospital said that passes will be issued to residents in a day or two. "For residents who don't need to work, they can go out for two hours with their passes. Company employees will be issued passes by their companies, which will allow them to go to the office."

Key companies have already resumed work and production, including some auto plants. Employees of the factories are living in the factories, Zou told the Global Times.

"I feel like the government and residents have been doing everything they can to contain the virus, but this wave of the outbreak spread so much faster than previous waves," he said. "Now that everything is finally going back to normal, I'm breathing a long sigh of relief."

Changchun reported 112 COVID-19 infections on Tuesday and Jilin reported one confirmed case, all found at isolation sites. 

A total of 961 COVID-19 patients in the two cities were discharged from hospitals after recovery, according to the province's health commission.

Jilin Province saw more than 60,000 cases in the latest round of the outbreak. Measures such as traffic control and closed-off management in the cities of Changchun and Jilin were previously imposed to curb  transmission.