China announces nationwide loosening of Covid restrictions – Times of India

BEIJING: China on Wednesday announced a broad loosening of Covid restrictions, saying some positive cases can now quarantine at home and scaling down mandatory PCR testing requirements.
Under the new guidelines, some asymptomatic and mild cases of Covid-19 can now quarantine at home, ending a requirement that all positive cases be isolated in centralised government facilities.
The frequency and scope of PCR testing will also be reduced, the National Health Commission (NHC) said.
Mandatory mass testing — long a tedious mainstay of life in zero-Covid China — will be restricted to “high-risk” areas and schools.
People travelling between provinces will also no longer require a negative test taken within 48 hours, and they will not be have to test upon arrival, according to the new rules.
The announcement came in the wake of rare demonstrations across the country against the ruling Communist Party’s hardline zero-Covid strategy.
The protests expanded into calls for more political freedoms, with some even calling for President Xi Jinping to resign.
Wednesday’s announcement came hours after the government released further data showing the crippling economic impacts of zero-Covid.
State propaganda in China had painted Covid as fearsome and Western countries’ acceptance of it as a moral failing. But as other places moved past the pandemic, a growing number of people started questioning why they were stuck with China’s approach, raising pressure on the authorities. Protests eventually spilled into streets in cities around the country, with some demonstrators calling for Xi to step down — incredibly rare scenes of public unrest in the world’s most populous nation.

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