China’s National Health Commission announced ten new COVID measures to soften its strict COVID control policies, It was done in an effort to soothe the public anger that was demonstrated in a string of protests throughout China a week ago. Some key features include:
- People with COVID, with either mild symptoms or no symptoms, can choose to isolate either at home or at a state controlled (centralized) facility. In the past, the authorities quarantine in centralized facilities not only those who were infected, but also people who were in the same building.
- The designation of high-risk area should be “precise.” This was in reference to the individual building, the floor, or even the apartment. It should not be broadly applied to the entire residential neighborhood, street, or other area. (as the local authorities had done in the past)
- The authorities should not mobilize (require) all residents to take COVID tests.
- Venues, except those with the elderly, children, or patients, will not check visitors’ COVID test results. In the past, all visitors had to provide negative COVID results before being allowed to enter the facility.
- People travelling do not need to show negative COVID test results at the new city, either.
- It is strictly prohibited to use any method to block a fire emergency exit, a buildings door, etc. (This was in response to the Urumqi fire that claimed dozens of people’s lives. This happened because the authorities sealed apartment doors and fire exits.)
- If no new cases are found, “high-risk” areas should come out of lockdown in five days. In the past, several cities in China had locked down the entire city for months even with though there were only a handful of cases.
These new measures represent a major change from the communist regime’s previous “Zero-COVID” policy, which aimed to control and quarantine anyone who either had contact or was in a vicinity close to a COVID patient.
The authorities had in fact issued 20 measures in November in an attempt to ease the policy, but apparently it was not enough and the public didn’t buy it.
Source: Chinese Government Official website, December 7, 2022