China set to loosen COVID curbs after week of historic protests

  • China allows home quarantine, cuts mass testing – source
  • The leader says that the virus is weak
  • The move comes after several demonstrations
  • It was the biggest show of public violence in years

HONG KONG / BEIJING, Dec 1 (Reuters) – China is poised to announce an easing of its COVID-19 quarantine measures in the coming days and a reduction in mass testing, sources told Reuters. , a major change in policy after the international crisis. the most difficult barriers provoked widespread protest.

Cases across the country are still near record highs but changes are coming as some cities have lifted lockdowns in recent days, and a senior official said the force was weakening. the virus to death.

Health authorities say the demarcation of their borders has not addressed the protests – the biggest demonstration of civil unrest in China for years – from lantern flares in Beijing to street clashes and the police in Guangzhou.

Measures that need to be uncovered include a reduction in the use of mass testing and routine nucleic acid testing and moves to allow positive cases and close contacts to self-isolate under certain circumstances, sources familiar with the matter said.

That’s a far cry from past practices that have plagued the public as entire communities shut down, sometimes for weeks, after a good case.

The unrest erupted last week in demonstrations of public violence not seen in mainland China since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012. The turmoil comes as the economy is about to enter a new era of slower growth than it has seen in decades.

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On Thursday night, Shanghai train commuters reported receiving an unsolicited text message on their phones over the phone saying they would be better off in China if the lockdown were lifted and the downfall of Xi – a new trend among the police force in some cities before the week.


Less than 24 hours after violent protests erupted in Guangzhou on Sunday, authorities in seven major industrial districts said they were lifting temporary lockdowns. . One district said schools, restaurants and businesses including cinemas could reopen.

Major cities including Chongqing and Zhengzhou were also told to ease up.

The state of power in the landmark revolution was created on Thursday by Prime Minister Sun Chunlan, who has been in charge of the COVID-19 crisis, told a meeting of former experts that the Omicron type was weak. In its capacity to deal with the disease, China can improve its prevention efforts.

“After almost three years of fighting the epidemic, our country’s medical and health system has been put to the test,” he said in a statement published by the Xinhua news agency. .

“The vaccination rate of the entire population has exceeded 90% and the awareness and quality of public health has greatly improved,” he said.

Government media told the Sun a day earlier that China is facing a “new phase” in its response to COVID, urging “optimization” of testing, treatment and programs. isolation bond.

The story of the weakening of the COVID-19 pandemic is in contrast to previous reports from the hawkish day about the end of the disease.

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“The day’s statement (earlier), in addition to the easing of the COVID control measures in Guangzhou yesterday, also sent a strong signal that the no-COVID policy will end in the next few months ,” analysts at Nomura said in a research note.

“These two events may signal the beginning of the end of non-COVID.”

In the capital, Beijing, some communities have begun to prepare for the changes.

A community in the city’s east held an online poll this week on how the best cases are staying at home, residents said.

“I really appreciate the decision of our resident community to hold this election regardless of the outcome,” said resident Tom Simpson, China director at the China-UK Business Council.

He said his biggest concern was being forced to go into the quarantine facility, where it was “uncomfortable to say the least”.

Prominent national spokesman Hu Xijin said in a social media post on Wednesday that many asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus in Beijing have been quarantined at home.


Hopes have grown around the world that China, as it tries to contain infections, could look to reopen its borders sometime next year and achieve better vaccination rates. vaccine among his grandparents.

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Health experts warn of increased morbidity and mortality if COVID is released before a vaccine is available.

Chinese and global markets initially fell after weeks of protests in Shanghai, Beijing and other major cities, but later rebounded on hopes that the Public pressure is the obstacle to the new approach of the authorities.

More COVID-19 outbreaks could weigh heavily on China’s economic activity in the near future, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday, adding that there is scope for a cautious adjustment of policies that could be economic growth to increase by 2023.

China’s containment measures have reduced domestic economic activity this year, spilling over into other countries through supply chain disruptions.

After a downbeat report in an official survey on Wednesday, the Caixin/S&P Global purchasing managers’ index showed factory output fell in November for a fourth straight month.

While the change in tone on COVID may result in a response to public dissatisfaction and stricter measures, the authorities are also looking to question those who attended the demonstrations. .

China Dissent Monitor, run by the government-funded US Freedom House, has 27 demonstrations across China from Saturday to Monday. Australia’s ASPI think tank recorded 51 protests in 24 cities.

(This story has been updated to correct the article number for the story)

Additional reporting by Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Kevin Huang and Ellen Zhang in Beijing; Written by Marius Zaharia, John Geddie and Greg Torode; Edited by Michael Perry, Robert Birsel and Conor Humphries

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters’ Guardian Principles.


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