Vivid News 24: As a loosening of China’s virus controls gained momentum, Beijing citizens applauded the removal of COVID-19 testing booths while Shenzhen joined other cities in saying commuters would no longer need to produce their test results to travel.
Despite the fact that daily cases are close to all-time highs, several localities in China are moving to make their zero-COVID policies more targeted in the face of a slowing economy and rising public resentment that has reached a point of instability.
With its zero-tolerance policy toward COVID, which has seen it impose lockdowns and routinely test for the virus, China has been a global outlier three years into the pandemic. It claims that the actions are necessary to save lives and prevent overtaxing its healthcare system.
China started adjusting its strategy last month and urged municipalities to become more focused. However, initial reactions were characterized by confusion and increasingly tighter lockdowns as communities fought to contain the mounting number of cases.
Then, a fatal apartment fire in the far western city of Urumqi this month spurred hundreds of protests over COVID curbs, setting off a wave of unheard-of protests in mainland China since President Xi Jinping took office in 2012. Since then, Beijing and Guangzhou have taken the lead in implementing improvements.
Following similar actions taken by Chengdu and Tianjin, two of China’s largest cities, Shenzhen in the country’s south said on Saturday that it would no longer require citizens to present a negative COVID test result in order to utilize public transportation or attend parks.
As the city prepares to stop requiring negative test results as a prerequisite for entry to facilities like supermarkets and subways starting on Monday, many testing booths in Beijing, the capital of China, have also been closed. However, many other venues, including offices, still have the requirement.
However, the relief has also been accompanied by worries, particularly from groups like the elderly who feel more exposed to a disease authorities had consistently described as fatal until this week, underscoring the challenges Xi and Chinese leaders face in relaxing their strictures.
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