UCA News
Contribute

Chinese cities relax rules as zero-Covid policy eases

Shanghai and Urumqi to reopen markets and restaurants and loosen public transport restrictions

A Chinese health worker taking a swab sample from a woman to test for the Covid-19 coronavirus in the Jing'an district in Shanghai on Nov. 28

A Chinese health worker taking a swab sample from a woman to test for the Covid-19 coronavirus in the Jing'an district in Shanghai on Nov. 28. (Photo: AFP)

AFP

By AFP

Published: December 05, 2022 05:32 AM GMT

Updated: December 05, 2022 05:35 AM GMT

Businesses reopened and testing requirements were relaxed in Beijing and other Chinese cities on Monday as the country tentatively eases out of a strict zero-Covid policy that sparked nationwide protests.

Local authorities across China have begun a slow rollback of the restrictions that have governed daily life for years, encouraged by the central government's orders for a new approach to fighting the coronavirus.

In the capital Beijing, where many businesses have fully reopened, commuters from Monday were no longer required to show a negative virus test taken within 48 hours to use public transport.

Ucan Store
Ucan Store

Financial hub Shanghai -- which underwent a brutal two-month lockdown this year -- was under the same rules, with residents able to enter outdoor venues such as parks and tourist attractions without a recent test.

Neighbouring Hangzhou went a step further, ending regular mass testing for its 10 million people, except for those living in or visiting nursing homes, schools and kindergartens.

In the northwestern city of Urumqi, where a fire that killed 10 people became the catalyst for the recent anti-lockdown protests, supermarkets, hotels, restaurants and ski resorts reopened on Monday.

The city of more than four million in the far-western Xinjiang region endured one of China's longest lockdowns, with some areas shut from August until November.

Authorities in Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected in late 2019, and Shandong scrapped the testing requirement for public transport on Sunday.

And Zhengzhou -- home to the world's largest iPhone factory -- on Sunday said people will be allowed to enter public places, take public transport and enter their residential compounds without a 48-hour negative test result.

The World Health Organization has cheered China's loosening of its zero-Covid policy, which came after hundreds took to the streets across the country to call for greater political freedoms and an end to lockdowns.

While some Covid rules have been relaxed, China's vast security apparatus has moved swiftly to smother further rallies, boosting online censorship and surveillance of the population.

And as officials have dismantled testing facilities, long queues have appeared around those that remain, forcing residents to wait in cold temperatures to get tests that remain obligatory across much of China.

"Students can't go to school without a 24-hour negative test," wrote a user on China's Twitter-like Weibo.

"What's the point in closing testing booths before dropping the need to show test results completely?" another asked.

Chinese authorities on Monday reported 29,724 new domestic Covid cases.

comment

Share your comments

Latest News

donateads_new
Ucanews Store
newlettersign
Asian Dioceses
Asian Pilgrim Centers
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia