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China’s Covid-19 policy in flux


BEIJING: China set to announce new measures to ease some of the world’s toughest problems Covid-19 restraint as early as Wednesday, sources told Reuters, with investors cheering the outlook for a change following widespread protests and mounting economic damage.
The Covid-free policy to quell transmission has become a global outlier as most countries seek to live with the disease, but 20 new measures to streamline control measures have been introduced. launched last month, amid growing public frustration.
After rare widespread protests in November across more than 20 cities, key policy issues, such as some mandatory testing and even messaging about the dangers of the virus, are emerging. change.
Here are questions and answers about an important turning point in the President Xi Jinpingsignature policy of:
DOES CHINA GIVE UP COvid?
Not yet, but it is making incremental adjustments, relaxing testing requirements and quarantine rules.
Changes that vary by location have taken place even in cities such as southern Guangzhou and the capital Beijing, despite recent record cases.
Officials told local authorities not to use a “one size fits all” approach before. Instead, cities closed apartment buildings and individual residences after cases were discovered, rather than parts of neighborhoods.
More changes could come as early as Wednesday, Reuters reported.
WHY HAS TO CHANGE NOW?
Growing public fatigue with the absence of Covid, and the surge that led to closures in many cities last month, often unannounced, has fueled anger.
At the same time, the world’s second-largest economy is being hampered by containment measures that have squeezed consumption and travel, and disrupted factory output and global supply chains.
day 20 Conference of the ruling Communist Party in October, where Xi Jinping secured a third leadership team to a five-year term, is seen as a major milestone that could lead to policy easing.
WHAT IS CHINA DOING TO PREPARE for Easing?
It recently announced efforts to increase vaccinations for its older population. Several cities have already launched a new inhaled Covid vaccine booster from CanSino Biologics.
However, many experts believe that China has not done enough.
It has not approved a foreign mRNA vaccine that is more effective against Covid-19. A top US intelligence official said Xi is not willing to accept a Western vaccine.
Some experts are urging increased doses of booster vaccines and increased health services, as herd immunity remains low after most of the virus was contained in the first two years of the pandemic.
Forecasts for eventual reopening deaths range from 1.55 million to more than 2 million, depending on vaccination levels and healthcare preparedness.
However, the current figure of 5,235 Covid-related deaths is only a tiny fraction of China’s 1.4 billion population and is extremely low by global standards.
HOW HAS THE PUBLIC REACTED TO THE CHANGES?
With relief and anxiety. Many people, especially in big cities, frustrated by the inconvenience, uncertainty, economic damage and travel restrictions that come with zero-Covid, will welcome its end.
But others, including the elderly, worry about the cost of a wide outbreak. Fears about the disease have deepened following heavy-handed control measures, while state media have reported deaths and chaos elsewhere, particularly the United States.
Recent rule changes and their patchy application have also confused many.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN WHEN FULL OPENING?
China has virtually closed its borders to international tourism for nearly three years. International flights are still a fraction of pre-pandemic levels, and arrivals face eight days of quarantine.
Many analysts say a significant reopening will only begin in March or April, after the winter flu season, and the annual session of parliament usually begins on March 5.
Goldman Sachs bank said it expected to reopen gradually from April.
But Julian Evans-Pritchard, a senior China economist at Capital Economics, said zero Covid-19 eradication is unlikely even by 2023, citing vaccination rates for the elderly. low, among other factors.
JPMorgan analysts have warned the road to reopening could be bumpy.

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