More than half a million people in the city of 25 million won’t be allowed out Wednesday — 190,000 who are still in lockdown areas and another 450,000 who are in control zones because of recent cases.

Shanghai authorities say they will take major steps Wednesday toward reopening China’s largest city after a two-month COVID-19 lockdown that has set back the national economy and largely confined millions of people to their homes.

Full bus and subway service will be restored, as will basic rail connections with the rest of China, Vice Mayor Zong Ming said Tuesday at a daily briefing on the city’s outbreak.

“The epidemic has been effectively controlled,” she said, adding that the city will start the phase of fully restoring work and life on Wednesday.

Schools will partially reopen on a voluntary basis, and shopping malls, supermarkets, convenience stores and drug stores will reopen gradually at no more than 75% of their total capacity. Cinemas and gyms will remain closed.

Officials, who set June 1 as the target date for reopening earlier in May, appear ready to accelerate what has been a gradual easing in recent days. A few malls and markets have reopened, and some residents have been given passes allowing them out for a few hours at a time. In online chat groups, some expressed excitement about the prospect of being able to move about freely in the city for the first time since the end of March, while others remained cautious given the slow pace and stop-and-go nature of opening up so far.

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