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Tuesday, January 31, 2023
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Beijing eases up COVID testing as more relaxation anticipated

People allowed into airports, stores, businesses and parks without negative Covid-Test

A series of nationwide measures to ease restrictions have been announced in Beijing following historic protests at the end of last month. People have now been permitted to enter parks, supermarkets, offices and airports without having to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test.

More easing is imminent following a series of demonstrations last month that represented the largest manifestation of popular unhappiness in mainland China since President Xi Jinping assumed office in 2012.

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According to two individuals with knowledge of the situation who spoke to Reuters, China may publish 10 fresh national easing measures as early as Wednesday.

A headline in the state-run China Daily newspaper stated, “Beijing readies itself for life anew,” adding that citizens were “gradually embracing” their newfound freedoms.

Authorities have gradually loosened some of the tightest Covid restrictions in the globe and lowered their rhetoric over the virus’s threat which many believe may signal a more marked return to normality three years after the epidemic began.

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State media stated on Tuesday that none of the city’s airports anymore needed testing to enter the terminal while there was no indication that the regulations requiring passengers to provide negative tests before boarding had changed.

Investors are hopeful that the world’s second-largest economy would regain strength and contribute to accelerating global growth as a result of the possibility of further easing of regulations.

Since early November the Chinese Yuan has appreciated by around 5 percent versus the dollar as a result of hopes for a future economic reopening in China.

However many people have had a difficult time adjusting to the new laws in practice. In large cities like Beijing and Chongqing commuter traffic has stayed below average levels.

Some people especially the elderly are still fearful of contracting the virus and there are worries about the stress the relaxation may have on China’s already precarious healthcare system.

As of Monday China had reported 5,235 Covid-related fatalities but some experts have cautioned that number could increase to over 1 million if the withdrawal will be made too quickly.


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