Shanghai’s quarantine enforcers are doubling down on their lockdown of one of China’s largest population centres, keeping millions of residents homebound within their compounds even as community infections stayed at zero for the fourth day amid daily swings in new cases. New infections fell for the third consecutive day, dropping 14 per cent to 480 cases in the previous 24 hours, according to data released on Tuesday. Cases showing symptoms rose 5.5 per cent to 58, while one patient died. “We must be on alert, since we are still treading on thin ice” in our fight against the virus, the Communist Party’s Shanghai committee said after a meeting of the city’s top cadres on Monday. “Shanghai is determined to claim a victory over Covid-19 with stepped up efforts to contain the outbreak.” Shanghai’s authorities have set June 1 as the date for officially lifting the city’s two-month long lockdown, aiming to restore China’s commercial and financial hub to normality by the end of this month. The sustained lockdown has strained supply chains to the point of breaking, disrupting production at 180 global manufacturers ranging from Apple to Volkswagen, and driven many small businesses to the brink of collapse. Local authorities have gradually relaxed some of the controls, allowing a few thousands of the largest manufacturers such as Tesla and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) to resume production under closed loops, where workers sleep on site to avoid contact with outsiders. Some public transport has resumed after local authorities added personal identification and Covid-19 test data to transit passes to enable passengers to board faster. On Sunday, a total of 273 bus routes and four of Shanghai’s 19 subway lines reopened, as the government allowed more manufacturers and service providers to restart operations under the closed-loop system. Nearly 85 per cent of Shanghai’s population lives in areas that have already been declared virus-free for at least 14 days, according to a tally released by local authorities. That translates to 21 million people in low-risk “precautionary zones” with the least restrictions, where residents are theoretically allowed to leave their compounds and walk about. Still, daily life remains heavily curtailed, as community volunteers – fearful of punishment if residents return with infections – take matters into their own hands in enforcing arbitrary curbs. The Weifang subdistrict in the Pudong area, near the Lujiazui financial and trade zone, has a so-called “static management” order in place until Wednesday, requiring residents to remain homebound, while restricting the movements of medical personnel and delivery persons. “There are still risks that the virus could lead from the quarantine areas to communities,” said Meng Tianying, a senior executive at Shanghai-based consultancy Domo Medical. “The city government has strengthened virus controls to make sure that the time frame for lifting the lockdown can be implemented in a smooth way.” Cao Jie, deputy governor of the southwestern Jinshan district, told a press briefing on Tuesday that private cars would be allowed to take to the streets across the district’s 613 sq kilometres from Wednesday. “Some public buses connecting Jinshan and other districts will be resumed on June 1 to serve commuters,” she said, adding that services will increase gradually after that to cater to demand. The resumption of public transport and private car travel could enable employees to commute to work rather than remaining in closed loops. However, the Shanghai municipality had yet to decide whether manufacturers, such as Tesla, will be allowed to exit the closed-loop system from June 1, two local government officials said. The cumulative death toll has reached 586, or 0.09 per cent of the 625,500 people infected in Shanghai, a city of 25 million residents, since March 1. Shopping malls, supermarkets and other big-scale stores run by specific consumer brands can use up to 75 per cent of their normal capacity to serve customers from June 1, the Shanghai Commission of Commerce said in a statement on Monday evening. “Measures to guard against the virus have to be fully enforced to ward off the risk of infections in the shopping areas,” it said.