After a gruelling two-month lockdown, China’s economic and commercial stronghold, the city of Shanghai, is finally seeing an easing of COVID restrictions.

At midnight on Wednesday, China’s Government began to allow people residing in the city, numbering around 25 million, to move freely. Still, roughly 650,000 residents will remain in lockdown and confined to their homes. Indeed, China is keeping its zero COVID policy, and people testing positive for the virus continue to face quarantine or hospital.

“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.”

The easing of restrictions come with strings, however, with new rules being implemented. Shanghai residents are now required to show a green health code on their smartphone device in order to leave their home or buildings, and access most places.

Residents who wish to use public transport or go to banks, shopping malls and other services must have a negative PCR test certificate valid in the last 72 hours.

Finally, restrictions on leaving Shanghai remain, with those travelling to another city being faced with seven-14 days of quarantine on their return.

The aggressive lockdown being pursued in Shanghai over the past months saw residents and businesses alike lose income and struggle to cope.

Global shipping lines were also impacted with several major manufacturers, such as Volkswagen and Tesla, being particularly impacted with staff kept away from factories.

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