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China to ease ‘zero-COVID’ policy after protests

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China’s “zero-COVID” policy is one of the most stringent in the world. Things could soon change, however, for China’s 1.4 billion residents.

For the last week, unprecedented protests have occurred in at least 23 cities across China, including Shanghai and Beijing.

The protests started after a fire on Nov. 24 killed 10 people and injured 9 others. It’s believed that because of COVID-19 lockdown procedures, rescue crews couldn’t get inside the building to put out the flames.

Protesters want to end the “zero-COVID” policy, and some are even calling for Chinese President Xi Jinping to step down.

In an apparent response to the protests, some leaders in China are signaling their willingness to ease COVID-19 restrictions. Proposed measures include a reduction in mass testing and allowing people who test positive for COVID-19, or were in close contact with a person who tested positive, to quarantine at home instead of in a government-run isolation facility.

It’s a dramatic shift from previous policies which saw entire communities locked down for weeks after just one positive case. The exact timeline for the ease in restrictions is unclear, but Reuters reported the measures would be unveiled soon.

On Thursday, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who oversees China’s COVID-19 efforts, said the virus was “weakening in its ability to cause disease, allowing China to improve prevention efforts.”

This week, authorities in at least seven Chinese districts said they were also lifting some lockdown measures. One district said schools, restaurants and movie theaters could also reopen.

China’s strict methods for containing COVID-19 impacted both China’s and the international economy, causing supply chain disruptions in a number of sectors. With the apparent easing in COVID-19 restrictions though, there is growing optimism China may reopen its borders at some point early next year.

Reuters contributed to this report.

CHINA’S ZERO COVID POLICY IS ONE OF THE MOST STRINGENT IN THE WORLD.  THINGS COULD SOON CHANGE, HOWEVER, FOR CHINA’S 1.4 BILLION RESIDENTS.

FOR THE LAST WEEK, UNPRECEDENTED PROTESTS HAVE OCCURRED IN AT LEAST 23 CITIES ACROSS CHINA INCLUDING SHANGHAI AND BEIJING.

THE PROTESTS STARTED AFTER A FIRE ON NOVEMBER 24TH KILLED 10 PEOPLE AND INJURED 9 OTHERS. BECAUSE OF COVID LOCKDOWN PROCEDURES, RESCUE CREWS COULDN’T GET INSIDE THE BUILDING TO PUT OUT THE FLAMES.

PROTESTERS WANT TO END THE ZERO-COVID POLICY, AND SOME ARE EVEN CALLING FOR CHINESE PRESIDENT XI JINPING TO STEP DOWN.

IN AN APPARENT RESPONSE TO THE PROTESTS, SOME LEADERS IN CHINA ARE SIGNALING THEIR WILLINGNESS TO EASE COVID 19 RESTRICTIONS. PROPOSED MEASURES INCLUDE A REDUCTION IN MASS TESTING, AND ALLOWING PEOPLE WHO TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID, OR WERE IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH A POSITIVE PERSON, TO QUARANTINE AT HOME INSTEAD OF IN A GOVERNMENT RUN ISOLATION FACILITY.

IT’S A DRAMATIC SHIFT FROM PREVIOUS POLICIES WHICH SAW ENTIRE COMMUNITIES LOCKED DOWN FOR WEEKS AFTER JUST ONE POSITIVE CASE.

ON THURSDAY, VICE PREMIER SUN CHUNLAN. WHO OVERSEES CHINA’S COVID EFFORTS, SAID THE VIRUS WAS WEAKENING IN ITS ABILITY TO CAUSE DISEASE, ALLOWING CHINA TO IMPROVE PREVENTION EFFORTS.

THIS WEEK, AUTHORITIES IN AT LEAST SEVEN CHINESE DISTRICTS SAID THEY WERE ALSO LIFTING SOME LOCKDOWN MEASURES. ONE DISTRICT SAID SCHOOLS, RESTAURANTS AND MOVIE THEATERS COULD ALSO REOPEN.

CHINA’S STRICT METHODS OF CONTAINING COVID IMPACTED BOTH CHINA’S AND THE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMY, CAUSING SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTIONS IN A NUMBER OF SECTORS. WITH THE APPARENT EASING IN COVID RESTRICTIONS THOUGH, THERE IS GROWING OPTIMISM CHINA MAY REOPEN ITS BORDERS AT SOME POINT EARLY NEXT YEAR.

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China’s “zero-COVID” policy is one of the most stringent in the world. Things could soon change, however, for China’s 1.4 billion residents.

For the last week, unprecedented protests have occurred in at least 23 cities across China, including Shanghai and Beijing.

The protests started after a fire on Nov. 24 killed 10 people and injured 9 others. It’s believed that because of COVID-19 lockdown procedures, rescue crews couldn’t get inside the building to put out the flames.

Protesters want to end the “zero-COVID” policy, and some are even calling for Chinese President Xi Jinping to step down.

In an apparent response to the protests, some leaders in China are signaling their willingness to ease COVID-19 restrictions. Proposed measures include a reduction in mass testing and allowing people who test positive for COVID-19, or were in close contact with a person who tested positive, to quarantine at home instead of in a government-run isolation facility.

It’s a dramatic shift from previous policies which saw entire communities locked down for weeks after just one positive case. The exact timeline for the ease in restrictions is unclear, but Reuters reported the measures would be unveiled soon.

On Thursday, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who oversees China’s COVID-19 efforts, said the virus was “weakening in its ability to cause disease, allowing China to improve prevention efforts.”

This week, authorities in at least seven Chinese districts said they were also lifting some lockdown measures. One district said schools, restaurants and movie theaters could also reopen.

China’s strict methods for containing COVID-19 impacted both China’s and the international economy, causing supply chain disruptions in a number of sectors. With the apparent easing in COVID-19 restrictions though, there is growing optimism China may reopen its borders at some point early next year.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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