On the heels of massive protests, China is discontinuing its zero-COVID policies.
In previous weeks, large-scale protests cropped up around China, particularly its metropolitan areas, as citizens made their discontent with the restrictive zero-COVID policy known. On the heels of those protests, China has finally begun to dial back its anti-COVID restrictions. Rapid antigen testing sites have been scaled down or removed entirely, and the “mobile itinerary card,” a phone app that tracks individuals’ travel for the purpose of COVID case tracing, has been deactivated.
“No matter how strong the prevention and control is, it will be difficult to completely cut off the transmission chain,” Chinese COVID expert Zhong Nanshan said in a state-published interview.
However, while the relaxed restrictions are a welcome change, they have unfortunately been accompanied by a rise in COVID-19 cases in the country. Roughly 8,626 cases have been recorded as of Sunday, though this is a drop from weeks prior. Concerns have been expressed by local health authorities that China’s medical infrastructure network isn’t prepared to handle a wide-spread outbreak of the disease.
China is dismantling a symbol of one of the world’s sternest Covid-19 containment regimes: its nationwide mobile tracking app. https://t.co/jyNKR8gqdp
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) December 12, 2022
However, others believe that with the current state of knowledge and medicine, the virus can be successfully weathered. “I think most people in rural China may have some misunderstandings about the virus, which may come from the overhyping of this virus by the state in the past two years. This is one of the reasons why people are so afraid,” Beijing graduate student Bob Li said in an interview with CNN.