COVID: China quietly abandons anti-COVID policy to prevent Xi Jinping from embarrassing himself

  • Stephen McDonell
  • BBC News, Beijing

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image source, Reuters

caption,

Workers collect medical waste from a building in Beijing where COVID-19 patients can be treated at home.

If you want to know about the Chinese government’s COVID response plan, look at the government’s actions. more than their words

Take what happened in Beijing, for example.

Even now, the number of infected people has not dropped dramatically. But now it’s no longer necessary to use public transport to show PCR results: bars and restaurants are slowly starting to reopen. And in some cases people with COVID have been allowed to quarantine at home. Instead of having to go to a quarantine center organized by the authorities.

Beginning December 6, Beijing residents will not be required to display COVID-19 results when shopping in supermarkets. office building and some more public places

Considering what is happening in this Chinese capital it can be seen clearly The Chinese government has quietly decided to abandon its zero COVID goal, apparently in an attempt to save face for President Xi Jinping, who has promised to support the policy without any compromise.

This does not mean that All COVID-19 containment measures will be lifted. Because the Chinese still have to be tested for COVID 48 hours before going to hospitals, schools, restaurants and gyms, for example, and this does not mean that these control measures will be lifted in the next semester.

but it means The Chinese government no longer adheres to the goal of zero COVID.

Chinese authorities’ new plans appear to focus on slowing the spread of the coronavirus. in the hope that the country’s health system can cope with the growing number of infections Instead of eliminating this evil virus completely.

The plan might include keeping a close eye on COVID as it spreads. Being able to deal with waves of infected, sick and dead people.

This sometimes means adjusting some measures, but cities no longer need zero numbers of COVID cases to reopen.

In addition to Beijing In many cities across the country, measures to contain the spread of COVID have begun to ease.

The eastern province of Shandong does not require COVID tests to buy cough medicine. or drive more on the highway while the people of Henan Province Central Region no longer need to show PCR results when entering residential areas.

Similar COVID-19 containment measures have been relaxed in major cities across the country, including Shanghai, Wuhan, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu.

supermarkets, hotels, cinemas and fitness centers in Urumqi. capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Has returned to open again for service. The same goes for public transport in the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

This is an important milestone. Why just a few weeks ago The Chinese government urged citizens to strictly adhere to the zero-COVID policy.

Despite recent evidence that the Chinese government’s zero-tolerance COVID-19 measures have devastated the economy. and causing trouble to people’s lives Ma Xi continued his policy without any leniency at the General Assembly of the Communist Party of China last month. Last October

not long after People who couldn’t stand the strict control of their lives rose in great protests. After an apartment fire in Urumqi It claimed the lives of 10 people, many of whom attributed the tragedy to the fact that most people living in the area of ​​the fire were forbidden to leave their homes in accordance with the COVID-19 control measures.

city ​​after city Protesters have called for Xi’s resignation. with the expulsion of the Communist Party of China

Such strong opposition to the Communist Party is rare. since the mass protests of the people in Tiananmen Square in 1989

The rapid changes taking place The Chinese have joked about the effectiveness of the latest protests.

Former President Jiang Zemin’s death last week mounting pressure on the Chinese government Because many Chinese see the Jiang Zemin era as a time for China to open up its country and reconnect with the outside world. It is also an era in which the economy is growing exponentially. which is very different from the present

Another threat to Xi Jinping’s rule is China’s period of mourning over the loss of Jiang. Zemin which could lead to more violent protests as it was born many decades ago After the death of Hu Yaobang, the former Communist Party secretary known as a reformist leader, At that time, many Chinese people gathered to mourn his passing. Before that, it will expand into a huge protest in Tiananmen Square.

this possibility make Mr. Xi’s government which previously underestimated the trend of public dissatisfaction with COVID-19 policy. Change the policy immediately

But this must be done in order to save face for Mr. Xi. The owner of the zero covid policy

image source, EPA

caption,

Beijingers no longer have to show negative COVID tests to take public transportation.

Chinese officials will never apologize to the people. which uses COVID measures to limit people’s freedoms for longer than necessary

Now, the Communist Party has started to change what it communicates to people through the mainstream media. The new strain of COVID is not as deadly as the original strain.

The message marks a clear change in the position of the Chinese authorities. From earlier trying to announce to the public that The world is facing covid hell. And Chinese citizens should realize how lucky they are to live in a country whose status protects them from this deadly disease.

However, China still faces two major challenges: the first is to increase vaccination against COVID-19. especially the elderly Official data show that only 40% of people over 80 received the booster vaccine.

The second is The authorities will need several years to expand intensive care units in hospitals, which are currently inadequate.

As a result, China’s new focus on the COVID response should be gradual. although sometimes you may have to walk backwards

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