Excitement and apprehension as China loosens zero-Covid measures

Some people are keen to enjoy their new freedoms, but others are fearful of a major wave of infections

China’s scaling back of its zero-Covid regime has left its population reeling. Some are embracing their new freedoms, while others are struggling to overcome their fears of being infected after three years of tough restrictions.

Frustration at protracted lockdowns and mass testing boiled over in late November into widespread protests, the biggest show of public discontent in decades.

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China imposes new lockdowns as local Covid cases hit record high

Country reports 31,444 new locally transmitted cases, the highest daily figure since pandemic began

China has imposed a fresh series of Covid lockdowns, including in a city where workers at the world’s largest iPhone factory clashed with police this week, as a record daily high in coronavirus cases tests its commitment to follow the rest of the world in easing pandemic restrictions.

The national health commission reported 31,444 new locally transmitted Covid cases on Wednesday, the highest daily figure since the coronavirus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late in 2019.

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China eases some Covid rules amid growing discontent and economic pressure

Quarantine periods shortened by two days but Beijing government ‘will not waver’ from strict zero-Covid policy

China has eased some of its strict Covid rules in an apparent attempt to alleviate economic pressures and cool escalating discontent, though authorities insist their “war” against the pandemic remains unchanged.

The changes include shortening quarantine periods by two days for close contacts of infected people and for travellers arriving in the country, as well as scrapping a rule that penalises airlines for bringing in too many cases.

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