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Lhasa tries to get life back to normal

By Daqiong and Palden Nyima in Lhasa | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-21 09:42
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People line up to receive a COVID-19 test at the gate of the Lhasa Maternal and Child Health Hospital in Lhasa, Tibet autonomous region. [Photo by Daqiong/For]

Tibetan capital lifts restrictions, allows production to resume in some districts

Lhasa, capital of the Tibet autonomous region, began to gradually restart the economy and get people's lives back to normal in the city's counties and districts on Tuesday, under the premise of continued epidemic prevention and control measures, said a statement from the city's leading group for the fight against COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Lhasa has made solid progress in curbing its most recent COVID-19 outbreak, which first emerged in early August.

It reported 16 locally confirmed COVID-19 cases and 149 asymptomatic carriers on Monday, health authorities said. All the cases were detected among people in quarantine.

The regional capital has three districts and five counties. Among them, the districts of Dagze and Doilungdechen and all the counties-Damshung, Nyemo, Lhundrub, Chushul and Maldrogungkar-have had restrictions lifted. The downtown district of Chengguan, which is home to all the city's high and medium-risk areas, has lifted restrictions in its low-risk communities and several other areas.

Grocery stores and other businesses closely related to people's daily lives in low-risk areas will resume operations based on approval procedures and epidemic prevention measures.

However, public venues and crowded gatherings remain suspended, including cultural sites, entertainment venues, tourism spots, religious sites and convention venues. Most schools remain closed with students studying online. When schools can be reopened will be determined by the local education bureaus based on their evaluations.

In the city, epidemic measures and restrictions continue to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 infections. People are required to have their temperature checked and a green health code and travel code on their phones at all times.

According to the economy and information technology bureau of Lhasa's Chushul county, one of the city's major economic hubs, nearly 20 percent of the county's 112 enterprises are back at full operation with a further 17 enterprises to resume operations soon.

Lhasa Dazhao Barley Food in Chushul, whose major products are baked goods, resumed operation on Sept 9. After closure of almost a month, it lost an estimated 2 million yuan ($280,000) in revenue.

"We are pleased with the resumption of production," said Zhang Yumei, the company's deputy general manager. "Most of our employees have come back to work except a few from far away places, and we are producing an average of 15,000 cakes each day for people in quarantine.

"We have been strictly complying with epidemic prevention measures, including taking body temperatures, nucleic acid testing, and disinfecting every day," she added.

The city government has scaled up efforts to improve its makeshift hospitals and to provide better services and medical care for people in quarantine. The efforts come in the wake of Dradul, the executive vice-mayor of Lhasa, apologizing to the public on Sunday for not handling the city's outbreak well.

Tu Xin, deputy director of Lhasa's makeshift hospital work team office, acknowledged the problems faced in makeshift hospitals due to poor infrastructure and inadequate personnel.

"We have continuously optimized the processes of entry, management and exits in the makeshift hospitals, and the operation efficiency has been improved," Tu said.

In Sichuan province, infections in Chengdu have been controlled and restrictions were lifted on Monday. The city has been grappling with a COVID-19 outbreak since Aug 25.

Huang Zhiling in Chengdu contributed to this story.

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