Will China Relax COVID-19 Rules? Officials Announce Changes After Protests – Nationwide

China plans to announce easing of COVID-19 quarantine protocols and curtailment of mass testing in the coming days, sources told Reuters.

Nationwide cases remain near a record high, but that is changing as some cities recently lift lockdowns, with top officials saying the virus’ ability to cause disease has weakened. said.

Health officials who have announced mitigation in their areas have witnessed China’s biggest civil disobedience in years, from candlelit rallies in Beijing to street clashes with police in Guangzhou. You haven’t mentioned the protests that are the show.

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Measures to be announced include a reduction in mass testing and the use of routine nucleic acid testing, and a move to allow close contacts of positive cases to be quarantined at home under certain conditions. Yes, said a source familiar with the matter.

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This is a far cry from previous protocols that have led to public discontent as entire communities were locked down, sometimes for weeks, with even one positive case.

Frustration boiled over in mainland China last week in unprecedented public demonstrations of defiance since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012. Anxiety arises as the economy is about to enter a new era of much slower growth than seen in decades.

Residents walked past reopened shops in the Haizhu district as pandemic restrictions eased in southern China’s Guangzhou province on Dec. 1.

AP photo

On Thursday night, a train commuter in Shanghai reported receiving an unsolicited document wirelessly to his cell phone. It was that life in China would only get better if the blockade was lifted completely and President Xi Jinping resigned. City before the weekend.

Less than 24 hours after violent protests in Guangzhou on Tuesday, authorities in at least seven districts of the sprawling manufacturing hub announced they would lift temporary lockdowns. One district said it would allow businesses, including schools, restaurants and movie theaters, to reopen.

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Cities such as Chongqing and Zhengzhou have also announced easing.

The official sense of momentum for the breakthrough change built Thursday by Deputy Prime Minister Sun Chunlan, who oversees the COVID effort, came after a meeting of frontline experts said the Omicron variant had the ability to cause disease. He said it was weakening, allowing China to improve its prevention efforts.

“After nearly three years of fighting the epidemic, our country’s medical and healthcare system has stood the test,” she said in a statement released by the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

“Overall population vaccination coverage is over 90%, and public health awareness and quality have improved significantly,” she said.

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China Protests: Riot Police Called in Guangzhou as Shanghai Residents Clash with COVID Workers

State media reported the Sun a day earlier that China was facing a “new situation” in its response to COVID, urging further “optimization” of testing, treatment and quarantine policies.

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The mention of weakening the virulence of COVID contrasts with previous messages about the virus’s deadline, usually from the hawkish sun.

“In addition to the notable easing of COVID control measures in Guangzhou yesterday, Sun’s (previous) speech sends yet another strong signal that the zero COVID policy will come to an end in the coming months.” Nomura analysts said in a research note.

“These two events probably mark the beginning of the end of zero COVID.”

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In the capital, Beijing, some communities are preparing for change.

In one community in the eastern part of the city, an online survey was conducted this week for possible positive cases isolated at home, residents said.

Tom Simpson, managing director for China at the China-British Business Council, said: “Regardless of the outcome, we welcome the decision by our residential community to carry out this vote.”

He said his main concern was being forced into a quarantine facility, which “can be tough to say the least.”

In a social media post on Wednesday, prominent nationalist commentator Hu Shijing said many asymptomatic coronavirus patients in Beijing had already been quarantined at home.

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China is still trying to contain the infection, but there are growing hopes around the world that it could reopen its borders sometime next year if vaccination rates among the hesitant elderly improve.

Health experts warn of widespread illness and death if COVID is unleashed before vaccination ramps up.

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Chinese stocks and markets around the world initially fell after weekend protests in Shanghai, Beijing and other cities, but then fell on hopes that public pressure could lead to a new approach by the authorities. recovered.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Wednesday that the coronavirus outbreak could weigh heavily on China’s economic activity in the near future, safely readjusting policies to boost economic growth in 2023. He added that there is room to do so.

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China’s draconian containment measures have slowed domestic economic activity this year and spilled over to other countries through supply chain disruptions.

After Wednesday’s bearish data from an official survey, the Caixin/S&P Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index showed factory activity contracted for the fourth straight month in November.

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Florida Governor DeSantis calls China’s zero-COVID policy ‘harsh’ when expressing support for protesters

The change in tone about COVID appears to be a response to public dissatisfaction with the draconian measures, but officials are also asking questions of those who attended the demonstrations.

China Discent Monitor, run by the US government-funded Freedom House, estimated that there were at least 27 demonstrations across China from Saturday to Monday. His ASPI think tank in Australia estimates there were 51 protests in 24 cities.

Will China Relax COVID-19 Rules? Officials Announce Changes After Protests – Nationwide

Source link Will China Relax COVID-19 Rules? Officials Announce Changes After Protests – Nationwide

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