Shanghai's 25 million residents spent 76 days almost entirely inside their homes due to the CCP's failed "zero-COVID" strategy of dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks. (Related: China censoring videos of people being dragged out of their homes and into quarantine camps.)
On Tuesday, May 31, the Communist Party Shanghai Committee, the city's most powerful political body, published a letter online claiming that the lockdown was successful and thanked the citizens for their "support and contributions."
The lockdown officially ended at midnight on June 1. The end of the lockdown was met with celebrations, with residents going on Chinese social media websites to post videos of people taking their cars out for the first time in months, going out for food and drinks and hanging out on popular sites around the city.
"Just like the lockdown in the beginning, the unlocking also came suddenly," said Daphne, a Taiwanese marketing specialist who has lived for years in Shanghai because of work. "Everyone has a feeling of ecstasy and disbelief, and many communities were setting off firecrackers and fireworks."
In the morning, the celebrations turned into scenes of exodus as residents packed up their bags to leave the city as many remained anxious that the CCP or the local communist party could reverse the rollback of restrictions at any moment.
Videos coming out of Shanghai show the city's main train station packed with residents waiting to board trains to flee the city. The station's underground parking lot turned into an impromptu campsite filled with people waiting sometimes days ahead of their scheduled trains.
Those who could not board trains or buses and did not have cars were seen trekking miles across the city's main highways with their luggage.
The fears of those rushing to flee Shanghai are not unfounded. Municipal authorities warned that the reopening was conditional on COVID-19 infections not increasing.
Within a day after the rollback, city health officials announced the discovery of seven new COVID-19 cases in four neighborhoods in the districts of Pudong and Jing'an. These neighborhoods were immediately sealed off and designated as "medium-risk areas."
Neighborhood officials and volunteers acted quickly to quarantine at least 26 close contacts and over 100 secondary contacts. Nearly half a million people were also forcibly tested for COVID-19.
On the same day, some neighborhoods also voluntarily locked themselves down. One neighborhood even reportedly fenced itself off after a positive case walked through one of its streets.
Community volunteers in these neighborhoods are reportedly taking matters into their own hands to enforce restrictions following warnings from municipal authorities that they will be severely punished if residents return with infections.
In the sub-district of Weifang in the eastern Pudong District, near the Lujiazui financial and business zone, neighborhood officials enforced a so-called "static management" order. Residents were required to remain at home despite the end of the lockdown. The movements of medical personnel and delivery workers were also restricted.
"There are still risks that the virus could lead from the quarantine areas to communities," said Meng Tianying, a senior executive for the Shanghai-based healthcare consultancy firm Domo Medical. "The city government has strengthened virus controls to make sure that the time frame for lifting the lockdown can be implemented in a smooth way."
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Watch this montage from InfoWars showing clips of Shanghai reopening and its residents fleeing in fear of COVID-19 restrictions returning.