China eases ‘zero Covid’ restrictions

China eases ‘zero Covid’ restrictions
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Islam News – The Chinese government announced a rollback of the country’s strict coronavirus restrictions, a major pivot from a policy on which President Xi Jinping had staked his legitimacy.

The move is an implicit concession to public discontent after mass street protests against the Covid restrictions gripped China. Protesters were livid over lockdowns that confined hundreds of millions of people in their homes for weeks and dragged down the economy. They also disliked the seemingly arbitrary way in which the restrictions were enforced.

The Chinese Communist Party appears to be trying a face-saving retreat without acknowledging that widespread opposition forced Xi’s hand. The rollback could assuage protesters, but China is expected to confront a surge of infections as people resume normal life. Experts have warned that China needs to step up its pace of vaccinations, especially for older adults.

Data: Just two-thirds of people ages 80 and older are vaccinated, compared with 90 percent of the population overall, and only 40 percent have received a booster dose.

Changes: P.C.R. tests and health codes will no longer be checked for travel between regions. People who have mild Covid will be allowed to isolate at home. The government can still impose lockdowns, but to buildings, floors or apartments instead of neighborhoods, districts or cities. Those lockdowns would also be lifted more quickly.

Quotable: “Our voices are finally heard. We workers no longer have to be locked up, starved and suppressed,” said one migrant worker, who had protested against a lockdown last month at an iPhone manufacturing complex.

Source: The New York Times

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