Beijing A day later, President Xi Jinping presided over a meeting.Leaders of the ruling Communist Party on anti-nationalism Despite the policies, and rising cases, the government on Friday announced a new 20-point plan that eases, . The announcement comes after months of speculation among Chinese residents and international travelers about how far Beijing might go to relax its restrictions, which have effectively closed the country’s borders for years.
In short, China is still not open for business as usual.
Describing the pandemic as still “severe”, the Chinese government’s new plan falls far short of any fantasy that Beijing could completely lift the restrictions that are now almost exclusive to the country. While most of the world has reopened for travel and countries have allowed travel across their borders, daily life for Chinese residents has been disrupted, with foreign visitors having to stay in quarantine for days. , and economic activity is still affected by repeated lockdowns and shutdowns.
It was unclear when the new policy would take full effect, but under it, international travelers arriving in mainland China would only need to spend five days in central quarantine, sometimes in hotels, sometimes in poorly equipped isolation camps. . Laws in place for months require foreign visitors to spend seven days in quarantine.
Once this centralized quarantine is complete, travelers will still be required to spend up to three days at home, or for non-residents, at a government-designated facility.
However, there was no relaxation of rules for non-residents and/or pleasure seekers. So, if you were hoping to visit and see the Forbidden City, don’t get your hopes up. Tourist visas are not being issued yet.
The same short quarantine period also applies to those identified as having been in close contact with known COVID cases. Health officials will also stop hunting or identifying secondary contacts, or contacts of contacts, potentially significantly reducing the number of residents forced to self-isolate under longstanding rules.
The gradual easing of regulations was clearly aimed at attracting foreign business back to China, including the removal of fines imposed on international airlines for bringing confirmed cases of COVID-19 into the country.
But a Foreign Ministry spokesman, speaking at a regular briefing on Friday, downplayed the leniency and highlighted the “severe” nature of the ongoing outbreak.
Cases are increasing.
The easing of measures was a clear indication of the financial pressure Beijing’s own policies are putting on the country economically, especially as things escalate again.
The number of confirmed Covid cases in Beijing this week reached its highest level in more than a year, with the nationwide total surpassing 10,000 for the first time since April.
Many public places in Beijing’s central Chaoyang district, the epicenter of the capital’s current outbreak, have begun requiring negative PCR test results within the past 24 hours for entry, instead of the usual 72 hours. Although no official order has been announced across the city, many parks, shopping centers and schools have been closed.
Cases in the southwestern megacity of Chongqing hit a new high of 783 on Thursday. Public transport was stopped in some areas of the city.
The southeastern city of Guangzhou has seen the most cases recently. His district of Haizhou had already been under lockdown for a week, and that local lockdown was extended on Friday until at least the weekend.
Given that current measures have failed to stem the city’s outbreak, many fear that all of Guangzhou – which has a population of more than 15 million – could be placed under a city-wide lockdown as The residents of Shanghai had endured in the spring.