Country moves toward normalcy with local infections fully contained

By Yuan Yuan

For Lu Dalei, a hairdresser in Beijing, the second day of the second lunar month is normally a busy day as it is a traditional time for the Chinese people to get their first haircut after the Lunar New Year. But not this year.
Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), his shop was closed on that day, February 24.
As the domestic spread of the disease has been largely contained, Lu has reopened his shop. He said that he has noticed an obvious increase in the number of customers, some of whom postponed their first haircut of the new year by one month.
As the natural world revives with the arrival of spring, people’s life is regaining vitality with the ebbing of the epidemic in China.
Many places have scaled down their emergency response level. On February 22, Liaoning Province in northeast China became the first province to downgrade the COVID-19 emergency response from level one, the highest level, to level three, which allowed the opening of entertainment venues including cinemas and karaoke clubs with certain epidemic prevention measures.
Many other provinces followed suit. By March 24, only two municipalities, Beijing and Tianjin, as well as two provinces, Hebei and Hubei, still had level-one emergency response in place. Students in some regions, after being tied to home for about two months, are gradually getting back to school, shifting the classroom from online back to offline.
Jiangsu Province in east China, after zero new confirmed cases of coronavirus for 31 consecutive days, announced on March 23 that grade nine and grade 12 students should go back to school from March 30 to prepare for the university and senior high school entrance exams, bidding farewell to their winter vacation of about 70 days. Students in other grades will return to school after April 7, while colleges will open after April 13.
Jiangsu is not the first to take this step. Some high schools and secondary vocational schools had already resumed classes in Qinghai Province on March 9, making it the first area in China to do so. On March 16, students in their final year of senior and junior high schools in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Guizhou Province all returned to school. In Shanxi Province, grade 12 students resumed classes on March 25.
As of March 25, 17 provinces and autonomous regions had announced the dates for students to get back to school.
The Ministry of Education has issued a series of guidelines on COVID-19 prevention and control in kindergartens, primary and middle schools and higher education institutions, covering the period before and after the reopening.
The schools have adopted all the possible measures to ensure the safety of the students, providing sufficient protective masks and disinfection products. All the students and teachers are required to wear masks in the classroom and have their temperatures checked a few times every day. Students are divided into small classes to keep a distance of one meter from each other. This is also the distance they maintain in the canteen. “I miss my school a lot,” Luo Jialong, a senior student of Xingling Experimental School in Taiyuan, capital city of Shanxi Province, told China Youth Daily. “The college entrance exam is just about two months away. Even though we have been taking online classes at home during the winter break, the classroom offers a more conducive environment for study.”
– The Daily Mail-Beijing Review News exchange item