Police deny foreigner curfew rumor
Shanghai police have denied issuing a letter saying that foreigners in Shanghai during the Expo would be subject to an 11 p.m. curfew. The rumor was originally published on a local expatriate website, which quoted from a letter allegedly received by an unnamed local university from the Shanghai police. In addition to the curfew requirement, the letter also said that expatriates working in Shanghai would need written permission from their employer to leave the city during the Expo and that they would be prohibited from "socializing" near the Expo grounds. Shanghai police said the rumors are groundless, but noted that foreigners are still required to carry their passports with them at all times.
One-fifth of Expo pavilions behind schedule
Problems with funding, material deliveries and other logistical issues have left one-fifth of the Expo’s pavilions behind schedule. State media admitted that they may not open by May 1. Some of the delays can be attributed to problems with the pavilion organizations themselves. The US pavilion, for example, had public difficulties finding funding. Germany and Japan also got late starts on their pavilions.
Authorities crack down on illegal publications
The National Anti-Pornography and Anti-Illegal Publications Office launched a campaign to crack down on "illegal publications and harmful information" during the Expo. The campaign started on April 1 and will end on October 31. The Expo begins on May 1 and wraps up on October 1. The office is encouraging local authorities to curb the creation and distribution of pirated publications and illegal information by "strengthening market management and regulation of the internet."
Foreign visitors get transit channels
The Ministry of Public Security will ease visa controls to make it easier for foreign travelers to visit the Expo. In a March 26 statement, the ministry said visitors from 32 countries would be allowed to leave Shanghai’s Hongqiao and Pudong airports for less than 48 hours without a transit visa. The 32 countries were not specified in the statement. Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have established "green" channels to speed up entry and departure procedures for Expo workers, exhibition personnel and visitors.
Shanghai police prep for Expo security
Liquids, long-handled umbrellas, needles and large bags will be on the list of items banned from the Expo site on security concerns, said the Shanghai police. All visitors will go through two security checks before being allowed to enter the site. Passengers on Metro Line 13, which goes straight to the Expo site, must also undergo similar inspections at the Madang Road station.
Helicopters available for Expo emergencies
Officials from the Shanghai Health Bureau announced that helicopters will be used to bring patients from the Expo zone to designated hospitals. Two of the designated care centers are equipped with helicopter pads from which there is direct access to operating rooms. First-aid care at medical stations in the Expo site will be free, but follow-up treatment is not. A fee schedule has not been released. Visitor safety and medical service are cited as the "top tasks for a smooth Expo," according to officials.
New bus routes to take strain off subway
Shanghai will open 42 new bus routes to transport visitors to the Expo. The new routes will connect bus hubs and subway stations with entrances and exits to the Expo site. Shanghai’s subway system already handles 4.3-4.5 million passengers a day and that number may increase to 7.2 million during the Expo. Expo officials hope that 40% of visitors will use the bus system and expect 50% to use the subway.