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Shanghai is lowering its Covid-19 alert level from today

While we're not living mask free yet, rules on wearing them in all public spaces may be relaxed a little

Photograph: CDC courtesy pexels.com
Over the past five months, Covid-19 has shaken up all of our day-to-day lives. But from kids slowly heading back to the classrooms this month to the reopening of a load of venues and attractions (including Shanghai Disneyland), we're inching ever closer to a 'new normal'. In one more positive step, the municipal government announced it's downgrading the city's Covid-19 alert level from two to three as of today (Sat 9), official platform Shanghai Fabu reports.

But what does a level three Covid-19 alert actually mean?

A lot of checks and precautions will remain in place to prevent the virus spreading, including closely monitoring arrivals into Shanghai; thermal imaging cameras in areas with high foot traffic like airports and train stations; daily health inspections as well as measures like staggered mealtimes at schools and more.

However, it does look like the rules on wearing face masks in all public spaces could be relaxed a little. While never explicitly noting where masks are not required, in new guidelines released yesterday, the municipal government stated it is now 'recommended that individuals carry masks and wear them as appropriate in confined spaces, crowded areas or when in close contact with others.’ Attitudes do also seem to be slowly shifting on the streets – though most people are still masked up, more and more people are going out and about with masks below their chins (or occasionally without wearing them).

Importantly, the new guidelines still suggest that the elderly and people with underlying health conditions wear masks at all times when out and about. And there are also many cases where masks 'must' be worn, including anyone with symptoms (such as fever, a cough or a runny nose), medical and public services staff, on all train or long-distance bus journeys and to enter space like schools and healthcare facilities. Under the guidelines, it also appears as though this applies to riding the subway.

According to Shine, the new lower level is linked to the fact that Shanghai hasn't had any new confirmed cases from local transmission since March 3. The municipal government triggered the highest alert level on January 24, which was later downgraded to the second level on March 24.

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