China has announced a nationwide loosening of Covid restrictions today following protests against the hard-line strategy that grew into calls for greater political freedoms. Anger over China’s zero-Covid policy, which involved mass lockdowns, constant testing and quarantines even for people who are not infected, stoked unrest not seen since the 1989 pro-democracy protests.
Under the new guidelines announced by the National Health Commission, the frequency and scope of PCR testing — long a tedious mainstay of life in zero-Covid China will be reduced.
Lockdown will also be scaled down and people with non-severe Covid cases can isolate at home instead of centralized government facilities and people will no longer be required to show a green health code on their phone to enter public buildings and spaces, except for “nursing homes, medical institutions, kindergartens, middle and high schools.”
The new rules scrap the forced quarantines for people with no symptoms or with mild cases.
“Asymptomatic infected persons and mild cases who are eligible for home isolation are generally isolated at home, or they can voluntarily choose centralized isolation for treatment,” the new rules read.