China is lifting its toughest Covid guidelines, including mandatory measures for people in isolation camps, just a week after landmark protests against tight controls.People with mild or no symptoms of COVID-19 can now be quarantined at home rather than in government facilities.It also eliminated the need to show tests at most venues, allowing more freedom to move around the country.Citizens have expressed relief, but also expressed concern about the sudden change.”Finally! No more worries about being infected or being taken away as a close contact,” one person wrote on Chinese social media. Another said:
“Can someone explain what’s going on? Why the sudden change?”
The drastic change suggests that China is finally moving away from its Covid-free policy and looking to “coexist with the virus” like the rest of the world. The country is grappling with the largest wave of infections with over 30,000 people a day. Some users have questioned the accelerated opening up online, saying “the healthcare system will be overwhelmed and many older people will get infected. It (the big wave of infections) is starting now.” , wrote one user. But many others were delighted with the easing of the policies that have dominated their lives for nearly three years.
Throughout the year, there were videos of lifeguards dragging people out of their homes who refused to leave. Last week, a viral video from Hangzhou showed a man fighting a police officer . The recent protests were sparked by deadly fires in the western region of Xinjiang. Critics said the victims were unable to flee the building due to lockdown measures, a claim Beijing denies .”Hopefully before the Chinese New Year (January 2023), the large-scale movement of the population will return home,” he added. China’s borders also remain closed to most foreigners, but some analysts say the rapid change suggests the country could reopen next year.