China Set To Loosen COVID Curbs After A Week Of Protests
- China is set to announce an easing of its COVID-19 quarantine protocols in the coming days and a reduction in mass testing, sources told Reuters, a marked shift in policy after anger over the world's toughest curbs fuelled widespread protests.
- Cases nationwide remain near record highs but the changes come as some cities have been lifting their lockdowns in recent days, and a top official said the ability of the virus to cause disease was weakening.
- Health authorities announcing the easing in their areas have not mentioned the protests - the biggest show of civil disobedience in China for years - which ranged from candle-lit vigils in Beijing to street clashes with police in Guangzhou.
- The frustration boiled over last week in demonstrations of public defiance unprecedented in mainland China since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012. The unrest comes as the economy is set to enter a new era of much slower growth than seen in decades.
- Expectations have grown around the world that China, while still trying to contain infections, could look to re-open its borders at some point next year once it achieves better vaccination rates among its hesitant elderly. Health experts warn of widespread illness and death if COVID is let loose before vaccination is ramped up.