China hints at easing ‘zero-Covid’ approach following widespread protests
China’s stance to Covid-19 is at a crossroad, following mass protests against its zero-tolerance approach to cases of the virus.
One of the country’s most senior pandemic response officials said last night that China is entering a “new stage and mission”.
According to state media, Sun Chunlan, China’s vice premier, said: “With the decreasing pathogenicity of the Omicron variant, the increasing vaccination rate and the accumulating experience of outbreak control and prevention, China’s pandemic containment faces a new stage and mission.”
Local unrest has swept across a number of cities, triggered by a fire in a high-rise apartment block in western Xinjiang last week, which killed 10 people.
Just last week, investors were concerned the country may be headed towards tougher restrictions, with Beijing moving to confine some residents in their homes and others in quarantine centres after the city’s first Covid-19 death in six months.
Officials announced prior to the death that some ‘zero-Covid’ policies would be relaxed, including suspending flights from airlines that had brought in a certain number of passengers who tested positive.