Shanghai lifted its two-month-long lockdown Wednesday, allowing around 90 percent of its citizens to leave home and resuming public transport.

A bar in Shanghai is crowded with patrons in the early hours of June 1, 2022, soon after the Chinese city's COVID-19 lockdown was lifted. (Kyodo) 

China's financial and commercial hub with a population of about 25 million entered a phased lockdown March 28 amid the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.

Despite the ending of lockdown, however, residents are required to have a certificate showing a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours to enter public places, while areas where infection cases have been confirmed or which are expected to remain vulnerable to COVID-19 exposure continue to be sealed.

Fears remain that the city may be locked down again if there is another COVID-19 outbreak, with a Japanese worker living there with his family saying he is considering returning to his home nation as soon as possible.

The number of daily new infection cases in Shanghai was 31 on Tuesday, the smallest since the lockdown began, according to Chinese health authorities.

In recent weeks, Shanghai had eased some regulations under the country's radical "zero-COVID" policy, but public transportation remained shut down and most residents were only permitted to go out in limited areas.

Many residents expressed frustration at the all-encompassing constraints imposed by authorities.

People ride on the subway in Shanghai on June 1, 2022, as the Chinese city's COVID-19 lockdown is lifted. (Kyodo)

Across China, including in its capital Beijing, a large number of citizens have been prohibited from leaving their homes or residential districts, taking a heavy toll on business and consumer activities in the world's second-biggest economy.

China has expressed its resolve to continue with its strict COVID-19 policy. Its ruling Communist Party is likely to maintain it at least until the end of its twice-a-decade congress in the fall, at which President Xi Jinping is set to be re-elected as leader.

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