China scraps many COVID regulations, allows home quarantine, ends temporary lockdowns
Chinese govt officials put a positive spin on the easing of measures, saying the country’s approach was scientific and that the low threat from Omicron variant paved the way for easing measures. Authorities said that people infected with Covid can now quarantine at home, but only those who have mild or no symptoms will be allowed to do so.
In a significant move, China announced that it was reversing its rigorous zero-Covid policy by removing the majority of its contentious COVID regulations. This comes following widespread demonstrations that erupted across the country, during which people called for more political freedom in addition to the relaxation of COVID regulations.
The National Health Commission made the announcement, the most significant of which is allowing home quarantine. This week, regulations for COVID testing have already been relaxed in a number of significant cities.
The frequency and scope of PCR testing have been decreased under the current strategy. The new rules also scrap forced quarantines for people with no symptoms or with mild cases. People with mild symptoms of COVID can isolate themselves at home rather than in centralised government institutions. Additionally, lockdowns will be reduced.
The country's COVID programme, which included health QR codes from the beginning of the epidemic, has mostly been abandoned. To enter public structures and areas, people won't need to display a green health code on their phone anymore. If one must access "nursing homes, medical facilities, kindergartens, middle schools, or high schools," it still applies in those situations.
The new regulation further said that people travelling across provinces do not need to provide a 48-hour test result and do not need to test upon arrival.
The elderly will also receive their vaccinations more quickly, which will help Beijing loosen its strict stance on Covid. To discourage its citizens and Covid Zero detractors from believing that the limits have been relaxed as a result of the demonstrations earlier in November, the Chinese government has attempted to portray the developments in a favourable light.
Along with capital Beijing, 50 other cities have announced similar measures to relax testing protocols for public venues.