China has more than 1 million infections and 5,000 deaths from Covid every day. This is estimated by the British health data company Airfinity, according to reports from the BBC. The true number is currently unknown because officials have stopped issuing data on infections and deaths from Covi+d. Despite the Beijing government’s announcement of easing restrictions, reports speak of collapsing hospitals and a very large number of deaths among the elderly.
Beijing reopens borders
The Chinese authorities called for a “zero Covid” policy amid one of the most turbulent waves since the beginning of the pandemic. China is preparing to reopen its borders in January, ending a three-year lockdown that has sapped its economy and sparked widespread unrest. The easing comes at the height of a massive spike in cases, with 250 million infections in 20 days and the specter of a million victims in the wave. A change in approach can be summed up in President Xi Jinping’s words: “In the face of the new situation, a more targeted health campaign should be launched to protect people’s lives,” he said.
Stop quarantine and easier visas
In detail, from January 8, China will no longer impose a quarantine obligation on arriving travelers, and is limited to requesting a negative swab within 48 hours before departure. Currently, an eight-day period of self-isolation must be observed, split between five days in a designated facility and three days at home.
The government announced that it will facilitate visa applications for various reasons, from studies to family reunification, in addition to canceling restrictions on international flights and returning travel abroad. Covid management itself has been reduced to a secondary emergency level, removing the legal justification for the more invasive measures of the ‘zero Covid’ policy. The national authorities reiterate that they will continue to monitor the spread of infection and will try to eliminate the most serious outbreaks.
Senior official Liang Wannian said the priority is “to move from infection prevention and control to treatment, with the aim of ensuring health, preventing serious diseases, and enabling stable and orderly transmission while adjusting the epidemic response.” The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention may also reduce the frequency of data release from a daily update to a monthly release.
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