fbpx

Type to search

China Seen Announcing Steps to Ease Covid Curbs on Wednesday

New measures on the handling of Covid-19 could be announced on Wednesday, including the possibility of people being allowed to quarantine at home, sources have said


Chinese officials are expected to announce 10 new steps to ease formerly rigid Covid curbs on Wednesday, sources say.
Workers in protective suits remove bags of medical waste outside a building in Beijing where residents isolate at home with Covid. Reuters December 5, 2022.

 

China could announce 10 additional moves to ease Covid restrictions on Wednesday, sources have revealed.

The new measures would supplement 20 unveiled in November that set off a wave of steps to ease formerly rigid Covid restrictions nationwide.

Three years of zero-tolerance measures, from shuttered borders to frequent lockdowns, have battered China’s economy, fuelling last month the mainland’s biggest show of public discontent since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012.

Management of the disease may be downgraded as soon as January, to the less strict Category B from the current top-level Category A of infectious disease, the sources said on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The National Health Commission did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

ALSO SEE:

Covid Concerns Add to Apple’s Need to Diversify Out of China

 

 

Quarantine at Home for Some?

Last week, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan said China was facing “a new situation” as pathogenicity of the Omicron virus weakened, becoming the first high-ranking official to publicly acknowledge that the new variant’s disease-causing ability had diminished.

Many major cities have since started to lift wide lockdowns, reduce regular PCR testing and end checks for negative tests in public spaces, such as subway stations and parks.

The national health authority had earlier announced a score of new measures on November 11, in the effort to improve Covid management and strike a better balance between epidemic control and shoring up the economy.

China will allow home quarantine for some of those testing positive, among the supplementary measures set to be announced, two sources said last week.

That would be a key change in strategy from earlier this year, when entire communities were locked down, sometimes for weeks, after just one positive case.

Last month, new, easier quarantine rules required just the lockdown of affected buildings.

Since January 2020, China has classified Covid-19 as a Category B infectious disease but managed it under Category A protocols, giving local authorities the power to quarantine patients and their close contacts and lock down regions.

Category A covers diseases such as bubonic plague and cholera, while Category B groups SARS, AIDS and anthrax, with diseases such as influenza, leprosy and mumps placed in Category C.

But more than 95% of China’s cases are asymptomatic and mild, with few deaths. In such circumstances, sticking to the Category A strategy is not in line with science, state media outlet Yicai said on Sunday, citing an unidentified expert.

Covid-19 could be downgraded to Category B management or even Category C, the expert told Yicai.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

 

ALSO SEE:

 

China Stocks Rebound on Hopes of Quicker Covid Loosening

 

China Must Ease Covid Rules to Revive Economy: IMF – SCMP

 

 

 

 

Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.

logo

AF China Bond