China has softened its tone on the severity of COVID-19 after anger over the world’s toughest pandemic control sparked protests in several cities across the country, some of which led to clashes with police. We are relaxing the restrictions on
China’s vice premier Sun Chunlan, who oversees the country’s coronavirus response, said the virus’ ability to cause disease had weakened as the number of daily cases remained near record levels after a prolonged lockdown. .
“The country is facing new circumstances and new challenges in epidemic prevention and control as the virulence of the Omicron virus weakens, more people are vaccinated and experience is accumulated to contain the virus. ‘ said state media.
The Sun also urged further “optimization” of testing, treatment and quarantine policies.
The reference to weakening virulence contrasts with previous messages from officials about the virus’s deadline and the need to eradicate it.
Several cities continue to ease district lockdowns and allow businesses to reopen, but directly mentions protests that have gathered momentum after 10 people died in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s Uighur Autonomous Region, after lockdown Friday. I haven’t
In the southern city of Guangzhou, officials in at least seven districts said they would lift temporary lockdowns the day after demonstrators in the southern city. clashed with the police Continuing restrictions on residents’ daily lives. One district said it would allow schools to resume in-person classes and reopen other businesses, including restaurants and movie theaters.
China’s lockdowns are tougher than those in the West, typically requiring people to be confined to their homes for long periods of time and subjected to regular mass testing.
Al Jazeera’s Patrick Fok said, reporting from Hong Kong, that protests had taken a violent turn in Guangzhou, which was hit hard by the latest wave of infections.
“The unrest marks the escalation of the movement that has spread to some big cities,” Fok said.
“The recent developments come despite stern warnings against participating in demonstrations,” he said, adding that China’s top security agency has called for a crackdown on what it claims are “hostile forces.” added.
However, it was unclear who or what the government was referring to, and it had yet to provide evidence of outside interference, Fok said.
Some protesters and foreign security experts said Wednesday Death of former President Jiang ZeminChina, which experienced rapid economic growth in the decade after the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, could become a new rallying point for protests three years after the first confirmed case of the virus in central Wuhan. There is a nature.
Jean’s legacy has been discussed in a Telegram group of protesters, which some say gave them a good reason to come together.
“Signs of Weakness”
China Discent Monitor, run by the US government-funded Freedom House, estimated that there were at least 27 demonstrations across China from Saturday to Monday. His ASPI think tank in Australia estimates he had 43 protests in 22 cities.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that people in all countries should be able to “express their grievances” through peaceful protests.
“In a country that sees it happening and sees the government take massive repressive action to stop it, it’s not a sign of strength, it’s a sign of weakness,” said Brinken. Told.
State-run tabloid Global Times reported this week that several cities were “optimizing” their responses, taking “more targeted, science-based actions to curb flare-ups”. and reflects advice on how best to respond to COVID. 19 was announced earlier this month.
Curbs have also been eased in southwestern Chongqing, allowing close contacts to isolate themselves at home. Meanwhile, central Zhengzhou, home to his massive Foxconn factory, which makes Apple iPhones and has been the setting for the recent ruckus over COVID, said it was “orderly.” Reopening of businesses including supermarkets, gyms and restaurants.
Earlier, the country’s health officials said China needed to respond to “urgent concerns” raised by the public and implement COVID rules more flexibly.
The state-run tabloid Global Times, echoing advice on its response to COVID-19 published earlier this month, said several cities are now “taking more targeted, science-based measures to curb flare-ups.” He said that he was “optimizing” the response in order to “take appropriate action.”
COVID is spreading even as China largely isolates itself from the rest of the world and demands the sacrifice of hundreds of millions of people to comply with constant testing and isolation.
The country’s death toll remains low by global standards, but analysts say reopening before vaccination rates rise could lead to widespread illness and deaths.
On Tuesday, the government announced it would Strengthen immunization for people over 80the group at highest risk of COVID-19.
Xia Gang, a National Health Commission official in charge of immunization services, said the interval between basic vaccinations and booster shots will be shortened to three months for the elderly.