China softens stance on COVID after protests, clashes with police | News of the coronavirus pandemic

China softens stance on COVID after protests, clashes with police |  News of the coronavirus pandemic
Written by admin

China has softened its tone on the severity of COVID-19 and eased some coronavirus restrictions after anger over the world’s toughest pandemic curbs has sparked protests in several cities across the country, some leading to clashes with police.

With daily cases near record levels even after prolonged lockdowns, Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who is overseeing the country’s coronavirus response, said the virus’s ability to cause disease has weakened.

“As the pathogenicity of the Omicron virus weakens, the country faces a new situation and new tasks in the prevention and control of the epidemic, as more people are vaccinated and the experience of infection with the virus is accumulated,” Sun state media said.

Sun also called for further “optimization” of testing, treatment and quarantine policies.

Noting the weakening pathogenicity contradicts previous messages from authorities about the virus’ deadliness and the need to eradicate it.

Several cities continued to ease district closures and allow businesses to reopen, though they did not make direct reference to protests that have accelerated since Friday’s fire in Urumqi, Xinjiang, which killed 10 people.

In the southern city of Guangzhou, authorities in at least seven districts announced they would lift temporary lockdowns a day after demonstrators in the southern city. collided with the police on ongoing restrictions on residents’ daily lives. One district said it would allow private lessons to continue in schools and reopen other businesses, including restaurants and movie theaters.

China’s lockdowns are stricter than those in Western countries – typically keeping people at home for long periods of time and requiring them to undergo regular mass testing.

Al Jazeera correspondent Patrick Fok, reporting from Hong Kong, said that the protests in Guangzhou, which has been hit hard by the latest wave of infections, have taken a violent turn.

“The riots show the expansion of the movement, which has spread to several major cities,” Fok said.

“The latest incidents come despite strong warnings against taking part in demonstrations,” he said, adding that China’s top security agency had called for tough action against what it said were “hostile forces”.

However, it’s unclear who or what the government is referring to, Fox said, and has yet to provide evidence of any outside interference.

Some protesters and foreign security experts said on Wednesday former president Jiang Zemin is deadThree years after the first cases of the virus were identified in the central city of Wuhan, which led the country to a decade of rapid economic growth after the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, it could be a new rallying point for protests.

Jiang’s legacy was discussed in Telegram groups of protesters, some of whom said it was a legitimate reason for them to rally.

“sign of weakness”

The China Dissent Monitor, run by Freedom House, which is funded by the US government, estimates that at least 27 demonstrations took place in China between Saturday and Monday. Australia’s ASPI think tank held 43 protests in 22 cities.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Wednesday that people in every country should be able to express their “frustrations” through peaceful protests.

“In any country where we see this happening and then we see the government take massive repressive steps to stop it, that’s not a sign of strength, it’s a sign of weakness,” Blinken said.

The Global Times, a state-run tabloid, reported this week that several cities were “optimizing” their responses to “take more targeted, science-based measures to prevent outbreaks,” reflecting recommendations on the best way to respond to COVID. 19. 19 was announced earlier this month.

Bars have also been eased in southwestern Chongqing, where close contacts will be allowed to self-isolate at home, while central Zhengzhou, the site of a major Foxconn factory that makes Apple iPhones, the scene of recent COVID-related unrest, has declared “orderly”. ” restoring businesses including supermarkets, gyms and restaurants.

Earlier, national health officials said China would respond to “urgent concerns” raised by the public and that the COVID rules should be implemented more flexibly.

The Global Times, a state-run tabloid, said several cities were “optimizing” their responses to “take more targeted, science-based measures to contain outbreaks”, echoing advice on their COVID-19 responses released earlier this month.

Despite China largely isolating itself from the world and demanding sacrifices from hundreds of millions of people to comply with brutal testing and isolation, COVID has spread.

While the country’s death toll remains low by global standards, analysts said reopening before increasing vaccination rates could lead to widespread illness and death.

On Tuesday, the government announced it would do so Boost vaccinations for people over 80The group most at risk for COVID-19.

Xia Gang, an official in charge of immunization services at the National Health Commission, said the gap between the basic vaccination and booster shots for the elderly will be reduced to three months.

About the author


Leave a Comment