Shanghai reopened a small part of the world's longest subway system on Sunday after some lines had been closed for almost two months, as the city paves the way for a more complete lifting of its painful COVID-19 lockdown next week.
With most residents not allowed to leave their homes and restrictions tightening in parts of China's most populous city, commuters early on Sunday needed strong reasons to travel.
Shanghai's lockdown and curbs in other cities have battered consumption, industrial output and other sectors of the Chinese economy in recent months, prompting pledges of support from policymakers.
Many who ventured out in the commercial hub wore blue protective gowns and face shields. Inside the carriages, passengers were seen keeping some empty seats between themselves. Crowds were small.
Four of the 20 lines reopened, and 273 bus routes. Some had closed in late March, others later, although sporadic service continued with a limited number of stops.
The city of 25 million expects to lift its city-wide lockdown and return to more normal life from June 1. Most restrictions on movement will remain in place this month.
Shanghai's 800-km metro system averaged 7.7 million rides a day in 2020, according to the latest data, with an annual passenger throughput of 2.8 billion.
Trains will run 20 minutes apart for limited hours. Commuters must scan their body temperature at the entrance and show negative results of PCR tests taken within 48 hours.