- Biggest deregulation since pandemic began
- City urges citizens to be vigilant
- Analysts say China is unprepared for surge in cases
BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Many Chinese embraced new freedoms on Thursday after abandoning key parts of a tough coronavirus-free regime. rampage.
Three years after the pandemic, many in China were eager for Beijing to begin coordinating its stringent virus prevention measures with the rest of the world.
Those grievances erupted into widespread protests last month, marking the biggest public outcry since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012.
It goes without saying that it was a response to those protests, but in a move that heralded a nationwide relaxation of rules announced by the National Health Commission on Wednesday, some cities and regions are taking COVID-control measures. began to alleviate
The NHC said people with mild symptoms can now isolate themselves at home and no longer need to be tested or check their health on mobile apps for various activities, including domestic travel.
Ticket sales for tourist and leisure spots in the country surged, with some people taking to social media to reveal they had tested positive for the virus, state media said.
Others expressed caution.
“We know COVID isn’t so ‘horrifying’ right now, but it’s still contagious and will hurt,” said one post on the Weibo platform. Fear is not easily extinguished.”
“Too positive!” said another Weibo user.
China reported 21,439 new local COVID-19 infections on 7 December. It was down slightly from the previous day and below her November 27 peak of 40,052 cases. Cases have been declining recently as authorities across the country have eased testing requirements.
Various multimillion-dollar projects to build testing laboratories across the country, from Shandong in the east to Sichuan in the southwest, have been scrapped as China cuts its testing needs, the Shanghai government backs. The news agency The Paper reported.
Stock markets in China and Hong Kong rallied Asian stocks on Thursday.These still cautious steps toward reopening have given the world’s second-largest economy a chance to regain momentum.
China’s yuan, which has appreciated somewhat against the dollar in recent weeks, was little changed on Thursday.
lack of preparation
Shanghai, China’s most populous city, which has endured one of the country’s longest and toughest lockdowns, on Thursday lifted the requirement for COVID testing when entering restaurants and entertainment venues.
Recent announcements make no mention of China’s ‘zero COVID’ policy, suggesting the term is becoming obsolete as the government gradually moves the country into coexistence with the virus. There are suspicions.
Government officials have also softened their tone about the dangers posed by the virus.
But while adopting new, looser regulations, some cities have urged residents to remain vigilant.
Zhengzhou, the hub city of the world’s largest iPhone factory, said in a message to residents, “People should be fully aware of personal protection and take responsibility for their own health first.” rice field.
Residents were urged to wear masks, maintain social distancing, seek medical attention for fevers and other COVID symptoms, and get vaccinated, especially the elderly.
Some analysts and medical experts say China is unprepared for a large surge in infections due to low vaccination rates among vulnerable older people and a weak health system.
“(China) may have to pay the price for delaying adopting a ‘coexisting with COVID’ approach,” Nomura analysts said in a note on Thursday.
The infection rate in China is only about 0.13%, “far from the level needed for herd immunity,” Nomura said.
Feng Zijian, a former official at the Chinese Center for Disease Control, told China Youth Daily that up to 60% of China’s population could be infected in the first major wave before stabilizing.
“Eventually, about 80% to 90% of people will get infected,” he said.
State-run magazine China Newsweek reported Thursday, citing health experts.
China’s current COVID-related death toll of 5,235 is a tiny fraction of its 1.4 billion population, which is very low by global standards. Some experts warn that the toll could exceed her 1.5 million if the withdrawal is too hasty.
But despite the dangers, for many people, we accept that life must go on.
“It’s impossible to kill this virus completely. Maybe we just want to live with it and develop into the flu,” said Yang, a 22-year-old, unemployed Beijing resident, who said the Chinese economy would continue to grow. Hope Liberation will help him find a job.
Reported by Ella Cao, Bernard Orr, Ryan Woo, Albee Zhang, The Newsroom in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai. Written by John Geddy.Edited by Simon Cameron Moore
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.