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Chinese cities ease testing restrictions as the zero-Covid policy is reduced

zero-Covid policy
zero-Covid policy

In Beijing and other Chinese cities, businesses reopened and testing conditions were loosened on Monday as the nation cautiously eases out of a stringent zero-Covid policy that caused widespread protests.

The central government’s directives for a new strategy to combat the coronavirus have pushed local authorities throughout China to slowly relax the restrictions that have regulated daily life for years. In the capital Beijing, where many enterprises have completely resumed operations, commuters are no longer obliged to present a result of a virus test that was performed within the previous 48 hours, as of Monday.

The same regulations applied in the financial capital Shanghai, which this year saw a severe two-month shutdown, allowing locals access to outdoor spaces including parks and tourist destinations without a recent test. A step further was taken by neighboring Hangzhou, which stopped routine mass testing for its 10 million residents except for those who attended or resided in elderly homes, schools, and kindergartens.

Supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, and ski resorts all reopened on Monday in the northwest Chinese city of Urumqi, which was the scene of a fire that killed 10 people and served as the impetus for the most recent anti-lockdown demonstrations.

One of China’s longest lockdowns occurred in the metropolis of more than four million people in the far western Xinjiang province, with certain districts closed from August until November.

Authorities removed the testing requirement for public transportation on Sunday in Shandong province and the central city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was originally identified in late 2019.

And Zhengzhou, which is home to the biggest iPhone manufacturer in the world, declared on Sunday that individuals would be permitted to visit public areas, use public transportation, and enter their residential complexes even if a 48-hour negative test result had not been obtained.

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