China makes changes to zero-Covid policy after weeks of protest

Beijing, China - China is easing its strict zero-Covid approach to the pandemic after weeks of mass protests.

Testing for Covid-19 in Shanghai, one of several Chinese cities to be hit by rising cases.
Testing for Covid-19 in Shanghai, one of several Chinese cities to be hit by rising cases.  © REUTERS

The government announced a 10-point plan in Beijing on Wednesday that includes easing of quarantine, testing, and lockdown rules.

For asymptomatic and mild cases of Covid-19, isolation at home will be possible "in principle," according to the plan.

On the 6th and 7th day of home quarantine, two negative PCR tests will be necessary to be able to move freely again. Close contacts will be able to isolate at home for five days and then test free.

US shoots down suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast
China US shoots down suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast

Lockdowns will only apply to buildings, housing units, or individual floors or households, not be "arbitrarily" extended to an entire district, street or neighborhood, according to the plan.

Negative PCR tests will no longer be required when people travel between regions. Accordingly, the number and frequency of tests conducted will be reduced.

Beijing's policy of strict lockdowns and restrictions on movement set off mass protests over several weeks that have marked a rare challenge to Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

China has been hit by the biggest wave of coronavirus infections since the pandemic began three years ago, even if the absolute numbers are low by most standards.

The health commission reported around 25,000 new infections in one day on Wednesday. The numbers have been declining for days, after peaking at around 40,000 at the end of November.

Cover photo: REUTERS

More on China: