After unprecedented protests against China’s sanitary restrictions, more and more cities are deciding to ease their Covid measures. In Shanghai, from Monday, residents will again be able to use buses, trains and subways, as well as visit certain public places such as parks, without having to present a negative PCR test done in less than 48 hours, Reuters reported on Sunday. .
Thus, China’s financial center is following in the footsteps of the country’s capital, Beijing, where users, however, will be required to continue to present a medical passport confirming they have not crossed a “high-risk” area. The easing has also been in place since Friday in Chengdu (southwest) and Zhengzhou, home to the world’s largest iPhone factory and where many areas have been closed in recent weeks.
Registration is no longer required in Beijing to buy medicines for coughs, sore throats or fevers, Reuters reported. In the capital, health authorities again urged hospitals to stop refusing medical care in the absence of a PCR test within 48 hours. There have been a series of deaths in China as care or assistance was delayed due to strict Covid measures.
Authorities in various parts of Beijing have also announced in recent days that people who test positive can self-quarantine at home. The industrial city of Dongguan (south) also indicated that residents who meet “special conditions” can quarantine at home – without detailing those conditions. The tech metropolis of Shenzhen (south) has been implementing a similar policy since Wednesday.
Chinese anger at the pandemic hardline spilled onto the streets over the weekend, a mobilization on a scale not seen in decades. China quickly tried to quell the movement with a heavy police presence on the streets and increased surveillance of social media. At the same time, several cities have begun easing restrictions, notably ending mass daily testing, one of the tedious pillars of Covid zero that has been in place for almost three years.
In Urumqi, the regional capital of Xinjiang (northwest), where a deadly fire on November 26 sparked the first demonstrations, authorities announced on Friday that supermarkets, hotels, restaurants and ski resorts would gradually reopen. This city of over four million people has been subjected to one of the longest detentions in China.
At the national level, members of the government also signaled that a wider policy easing could be envisaged. On Wednesday at the Ministry of Health, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan acknowledged the low risk of the Omicron variant and improved vaccination rates. The central figure in Chinese policy in the face of the pandemic, Sun Chunlan, did not mention the term “zero Covid”, giving hope that this strategy would soon be eased.