Chinese government cancels ‘zero covid’ policy amid protests

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According to CNN The Chinese government has announced radical changes in its national measures to counter the COVID pandemic – home quarantine will be allowed and the use of the health QR code will be reduced. Such actions indicate a departure from the “zero coronavirus” policy, which caused protests across the country.

China eases restrictions on COVID-19

According to the publication, the State Council of China has published 10 new rules that relax some restrictions. First of all, home quarantine is allowed and the use of the health QR code, which was mandatory to enter most public places, is reduced.

“Local governments have already taken steps this week that indicate a possible change in direction, with some major cities loosening their requirements for testing for COVID-19. But this is the first official change in policy on COVID-19 at the national level, a marked reversal from Beijing, which has insisted for the past three years that unwavering restrictions are the only effective way to eradicate the highly contagious virus,” the statement said.

In particular, the use of QR codes on mobile phones to track people’s health is being reduced.

“The color of these codes—red, amber, or green—determines whether users can leave their homes, use public transportation and enter public spaces, or whether they may need to self-quarantine,” CNN noted.

Also, the government of the People’s Republic of China is introducing permission to quarantine at home for asymptomatic patients or patients with mild symptoms.

In addition, the new guidelines also call on authorities to “ensure the normal functioning of society and essential health services”, saying that areas not classified as high-risk should not restrict people’s movement or close businesses.

“It states that lockdowns are allowed only in ‘high-risk areas’, and even then they should be lifted ‘immediately’ if no new cases are detected for five consecutive days,” the newspaper writes.

The newly introduced ordinances will also prohibit authorities from blocking fire escapes, entrances to apartments or buildings, and other exits, so residents can evacuate and seek medical help if necessary.

What is known about mass anti-government protests in China?

Anti-government protests are intensifying in China amid strict quarantine restrictions due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Protesters, in particular, have already begun to demand the resignation of the leader of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping.

It is noted that thousands of people took to the streets to protest in Shanghai. They chanted “Xi Jinping, go away!” and “Communist Party, go away!”. Such open calls are unusual for China, as in such an authoritarian state, criticism of the government is punishable by prison.

The publication’s article emphasizes that the Chinese authorities were unprepared for such a reaction from society in response to strict quarantine restrictions. It was quarantine restrictions that became the main reason for the beginning of protests in many cities of the PRC.

In a comment to the publication, one of the participants of the protest said that he was “shocked and excited” when he saw people on the streets. According to him, this is the first case of such large-scale actions in China.

  At the same time, another participant of the protest stressed that the police also support the demands of the participants of the action, but they are forced to do their job.

As the BBC emphasizes, there were also clashes with law enforcement officers during the protests. One of the participants of the action reported that his friend was beaten by the police, and the other two were sprayed with pepper spray.

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