New cases rising in city Shanghai and Guangzhou

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China has signaled a change in its stance on Covid as it moves to ease some virus restrictions despite high daily case numbers.

Dozens of districts in Shanghai and Guangzhou, cities that have seen a surge in cases, were freed from lockdown measures on Thursday.

The country’s deputy prime minister also declared that the country was facing a “new situation”.

This comes as China sees massive protests against its zero-covid policy.

A fire at a multi-storey building in the western region of Xinjiang sparked unrest last week, killing 10 people. Many Chinese believe the city’s longstanding COVID restrictions have contributed to the deaths, although officials deny this.

This led to widespread protests in various cities, which have since subsided amid heavy police presence.
Restrictions from major cities such as Guangzhou were abruptly lifted on Wednesday, hours after violent protests in the city led to clashes between police and protesters.

According to a Reuters report, one community in the capital Beijing has allowed even mildly symptomatic Covid cases to self-isolate at home – a far cry from protocols earlier this year that shut down entire buildings and communities. Sometimes after a positive case .

 

Other major cities such as Shanghai and Chongqing have also relaxed some rules.

It comes as one of China’s top epidemic officials, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, said the virus’s ability to cause disease was weakening.

According to a Reuters report, “The country faces a new situation and new tasks in epidemic prevention and control as the pathogenicity of the Omicron virus weakens, more people are vaccinated, and the virus ‘pile’ up.” feels like stopping.”

This is in contrast to earlier messaging from officials that the country should maintain a strict zero-Covid policy.

Hu Zijin, a former state media editor who now offers comments from the Communist Party on Twitter, insisted that China was “now accelerating to isolate the massive lockdown”.

“It will take some time for the city to recover. Still, it is great to see the city of Guangzhou again,” Lijin Hong, associate professor at Sun Yat-sen University, said after the lockdown was lifted in several parts of Guangzhou. ,

China has recorded the highest number of daily Covid cases since the start of the pandemic in recent days – more than 36,000 were reported on Wednesday.

However, the numbers are still very small for a country of 1.4 billion people and just over 5,200 people have officially died since the start of the pandemic.

This equates to three Covid deaths per million in China, compared to 3,000 per million in the US and 2,400 per million in the UK, although direct comparisons between countries are difficult.

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