China is looking to ease some virus restrictions despite a high number of daily cases, suggesting a change in its stance on Covid. Dozens of districts in Shanghai and Guangzhou, cities with rising cases, were released from lockdown measures on Thursday. The country’s deputy prime minister also announced that the country was facing a “new situation”. That comes as China sees mass protests against its zero Covid policy. The unrest was sparked by a fire in a high-rise building in western Xinjiang that killed 10 people last week. Officials deny it, but many Chinese believe that years of Covid restrictions in the city contributed to the deaths. This sparked days of widespread protests in various cities, which were later quelled in the presence of police. Restrictions in major cities such as Guangzhou were abruptly lifted on Wednesday, hours after violent protests in the city led to clashes between police and protesters.
Communities in the capital Beijing have also allowed Covid cases with mild symptoms to self-isolate at home, Reuters reports. This is a far cry from the protocol that shut down entire buildings and communities earlier this year. Some restrictions have also been eased in other major cities such as Shanghai and Chongqing. This comes after Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, one of China’s top pandemic officials, said the virus was weakening in its ability to cause disease. According to a Reuters report, “As the omicron virus becomes less virulent, more people are vaccinated and more experience is gained in containing the virus, countries face new circumstances and new challenges in disease prevention and control. there is,” she said. This is in stark contrast to previous messages from authorities that the country must maintain a strict zero Covid policy.
In China, the so-called “dynamic zero Covid” policy (taking action to eliminate Covid every time it intensifies) has no clear endpoint and is not moving with the changing science and viral realities. It seems that. Many political and ideological reasons were given for this. But it doesn’t help that the vaccines on offer aren’t as effective and as widespread as in some other countries, especially among the groups that need them most. It also creates a vicious cycle – longer periods without cross-breeding means people are less likely to be exposed to the virus, even after vaccination, providing the highest level of protection studies suggest. It means to benefit from “hybrid immunity”. Built over nearly three years by natural exposures and effective vaccines, this protective wall has made Covid something the rest of the world is ready to live without resorting to legally-enforced restrictions.