Shanghai to reopen all schools Sept. 1 as lockdown fears persist

A teacher wearing a face mask teaches a class during a government-organized media tour at a high school as more students return to campus following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Shanghai, China, May 7, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

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SHANGHAI, Aug 14 (Reuters) – China’s financial hub Shanghai said on Sunday it would reopen all schools, including kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, on Sept. 1 after a Covid-19 shutdown.

The Shanghai Municipal Education Commission said the city requires all teachers and students to take nucleic acid tests for the coronavirus every day before leaving campus.

Teachers and students have also been urged to conduct 14 days of “self-health management” in the city before schools resume, the commission said in a statement.

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Shanghai closed all schools in mid-March ahead of the city’s two-month lockdown to combat the worst of the COVID outbreak in April and May.

This allowed some high school and middle school students to return to the classroom in June while most continued to study at home for the rest of the semester.

The announcement of the reopening of schools has come as a big relief to many residents but fears of a Covid lockdown remain, as China vows to stick to its dynamic zero policy that requires all positive cases and their close contacts to be quarantined.

On Saturday, videos circulating on Chinese social media showed customers pushing past security guards and panicking out of an IKEA mall in central Shanghai as an announcement that the mall was being locked down due to Covid contact tracing blared over its sound system.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the authenticity of the videos but IKEA customer service said on Sunday that the mall was closed due to Covid restrictions. IKEA did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

Shanghai, China’s most populous city, reported five new local infections of Covid on Saturday, all asymptomatic, while the country reported 2,467 domestically infected cases.

It has extended its weekly COVID-19 testing requirement and extended free testing until the end of September to contain the virus, officials announced on Saturday. Read on

The southern province of Henan is now China’s worst-hit region, with 494 symptomatic cases and 846 asymptomatic cases reported on Saturday.

Chinese Vice President Sun Chunlan called on Henan to achieve zero cases at the community level as soon as possible as he toured several locations on the island, including Sanya Phoenix International Airport, on Saturday.

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Reporting by Zhang Yan and Brenda Goh; Editing by William Mallard, Michael Perry and Jacqueline Wong

Our Standards: Principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

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