Chinese cities relax COVID restrictions, up police patrols
Major Chinese cities on Thursday continued loosening COVID-19 restrictions in the wake of ongoing protests against the country’s “zero COVID” policy. Officials in several cities, including Guangzhou and Chengdu, said they were easing testing requirements and relaxing movement restrictions. The city officials did not mention recent protests against COVID-19 policies, but cities that have softened regulations are also increasing their police presence, possibly to quell further protests. President Xi Jinping’s government has not publicly commented on the unrest and many COVID-related policies remain in place.
Will local policy shifts spread nationally? Some experts believe the city-by-city relaxation of policies may expand throughout the country as officials face growing sentiment against the restrictions. Sun Chunlan, the vice premier of China’s cabinet who has been supervising the nation’s COVID response, told China’s National Health Commission on Wednesday that the country is facing a “new situation” in virus control as the Omicron variant causes less severe illness.
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