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China eases some COVID restrictions after anti-lockdown protests | World News


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Chinese authorities have eased some COVID restrictions in select cities across the country following recent widespread anti-lockdown protests.

A slight ease is being introduced to testing requirements in Beijing, where residents can now board buses and trains without a virus test for the first time in months.

In the southern city of Shenzhen, travelers will no longer need to show a negative test result to use public transportation and enter pharmacies, parks, and tourist attractions.

However, a negative result obtained within the last 48 hours is still required to enter places such as shopping malls, which have gradually reopened, with many restaurants offering takeout.

Porcelainwhich follows a strict zero-COVID policy with the goal of isolating all infected people, is the latest major country to try to halt transmission entirely through mass quarantines, tests and lockdowns.

Nevertheless, anti-lockdown protests That have erupted in recent weeks in Shanghai and other cities as protesters calling for Xi Jinping to step down as president have been met with arrests and pepper spray.

Despite the protests, the Chinese authorities have maintained that they will continue with the zero-COVID strategy.

However, earlier this week COVID lockdowns and some restrictions eased in major cities including Guangzhou, Chongqing and Zhengzhou.

Restrictions being relaxed:

  • Starting Monday, Shanghainese will no longer have to test negative to take public transportation and visit parks
  • In the city of Nanning, capital of the southern region of Guangxi, a negative test is no longer required to take the train
  • Authorities in several Beijing districts have announced that people who test positive for the virus can self-quarantine at home.
  • Authorities in the southwestern city of Chongqing said they would now allow close contacts of people with COVID-19, who meet certain conditions, to self-quarantine at home.
  • The “orderly” resumption of businesses, including supermarkets, gyms and restaurants, was announced in Zhengzhou.

On Sunday, China announced another 35,775 positive cases in the past 24 hours, 31,607 of whom were asymptomatic, bringing its total to 336,165 with 5,235 deaths.

The country reported two additional deaths, in Shandong and Sichuan provinces, though no information was provided on their ages or whether they were fully vaccinated.

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Why are people protesting in China?

Although many have questioned the accuracy of the Chinese figures, they are still relatively low compared to those of the US and other nations.

Read more:
Ai Weiwei: Protests in China are “too small”
Police in China detain protester who was shouting
I lived through China’s lockdowns: it’s a miserable existence

While nine out of 10 Chinese have been vaccinated, only 66% of people over the age of 80 have received a vaccine, while 40% have received a booster, according to the National Health Commission.

Given the numbers and the fact that relatively few Chinese have developed antibodies from exposure to the virus, some fear millions could die if the restrictions are lifted entirely.

While the relaxation of some restrictions signals more freedoms for people, health experts and economists expect the zero-COVID strategy to stay in place at least until mid-2023 and possibly 2024.

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