If COVID symptoms are minor or nonexistent, a person no longer has to be institutionalised but may instead isolate at home.
Most places no longer need proof of testing; however, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is still required for entry into schools and healthcare facilities.
Both relief and alarm have been voiced by the populace in response to the rapid shifts.
“Finally! “Because of this, I will no longer be concerned about contracting an infection or being removed as a close contact,” one Chinese internet user said.
One more contributed, saying “Help! I don’t understand what’s going on. This rapid and dramatic shift begs the question, “Why?”
As seen by the flurry of recent reforms, China is abandoning its “zero-COVID” policy and adopting a “live with the virus” approach, as seen by the flurry of recent reforms. The nation is now seeing its largest wave of illnesses ever, with around 30,000 new cases per day.
Users on the internet have raised concerns about the rapid pace of change: “Many of the elderly population would get sick, and the medical system would be strained.” As of right now, “a contributor” wrote
Others, though, were relieved to see the restrictions on their daily lives that had been in place for over three years begin to be lifted.
Until recently, those infected with COVID and their close contacts in China were quarantined in camps.Due to the fact that it forced individuals to leave their homes and disconnect from their loved ones, this policy had gained widespread opposition.
At several points this year, cameras have captured security personnel forcibly removing residents from their houses. Just last week, a video of a man in Hangzhou battling authorities as he was forcibly removed from his home went viral.
The National Health Commission unveiled a slew of additional measures on Wednesday, including:
- Instead of locking down a whole neighbourhood or city, restrictions like lockdowns should be applied to smaller, more specific regions, such as individual buildings, apartments, and floors.
- If there are no new cases in high-risk areas for five days, the lockdown may be lifted.
- If there isn’t a widespread illness on school campus, classes should continue as scheduled.
According to the new recommendations, people must be able to go to emergency medical care and escape routes unencumbered by pandemic control efforts.
A lockdown has been implemented after reports of individuals being confined inside their homes and businesses.
A tragic fire in China’s western Xinjiang province sparked the latest wave of demonstrations; however, Beijing has denied claims that the victims were trapped in the blaze due to strict security measures. It has also been reported on several occasions that people in secure zones experienced lengthy delays in receiving emergency medical care.
The need for expediting vaccinations for the elderly was also stressed by the authorities.
Health authorities issued a statement stating that “all jurisdictions should adhere to accelerating the vaccination rate of persons aged 80 and beyond and making particular efforts” to increase the vaccination rate among those aged 60-79.
The greatest demonstrations in decades occurred in late November, leading to the relaxation of restrictions. Many people flocked to the streets in many cities to protest the quarantines and other measures taken in response to the outbreak.
Given China’s notorious intolerance of political dissent, some protests even erupted in overt criticism of President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party.
Authorities in China have softened their rhetoric on the hazards of COVID and lifted lockdowns in several areas in response to protests on November 24–26.
China is approaching “a new phase” in the pandemic, as Vice Premier Sun Chunlan warned last week, and the virus’s potential to cause sickness is waning.
Experts have cautioned that China’s healthcare system cannot handle a sudden increase in cases, so any relaxation of zero-COVID must be done gradually.
Public health professionals agree that a priority should be given to expediting the immunisation of the country’s senior population.
Prof. Ivan Hung of Hong Kong University told the BBC earlier this week that “the key approach for China to leave COVID with the least harm is by vaccination, and three doses of immunisation are necessary.”
“There will be a lot of people travelling and going home for Chinese New Year [in January 2023], so hopefully before then,” he said.