Image Source: NPR
China has said that travelers entering the country after January 8 will no longer have to go through quarantine.
As China moves away from its zero-Covid policy, this is the latest restriction to be lifted.
In China, the number of Covid-caused infections is going up, and doctors say they can’t keep up.
When President Xi Jinping first talked about the changes, he told officials to do what was “possible” to save lives.
State media reported that he said the country was facing new problems that needed a more targeted solution.
China has stopped releasing Covid data, but it’s possible that thousands of people die every day.
Since March 2020, everyone entering China must go through a centralized quarantine.
But the time has gradually gotten shorter, going from three weeks to only five days.
Under the new rules, Covid will go from being a Class A infectious disease to a Class B disease, which means that there will be no more quarantine.
Analysts say that Mr. Xi is in a tough spot because China has changed how it handles the pandemic.
He was the one who came up with the zero-Covid policy, which was said to make people’s lives too hard and hurt the economy.
But because he stopped doing it, he is now responsible for the huge number of infections and hospital stays, mostly among older people.
One area where the president is most at risk is how the public feels about how he is handling the pandemic.
The Media circus
In a time when there aren’t enough medicines for everyone, the media have also tried to spread stories of community spirit.
On Weibo, you can find many videos of people bagging up pain relievers they don’t need and giving them to people who do.
People are asked to be nice to hard-working medical staff, and outlets show how people have been nice to front-line staff.
For example, the news site The Paper wrote about a man who called a government operator in Chengdu while his throat was sore and coughing down the phone.
In the last 24 hours, the hashtag #PersistentDoctorsandNursesWorkHard has been popular, and state media have praised their work on the front lines.
But the independent South China Morning Post has been writing about how medical students have started new protests in the last week. They want “better pay” and safety on China’s front lines.
These things have yet to be talked about in state news. But pictures and videos of protests are often blocked because they show people are unhappy with how things are.
Last month, this happened when protests broke out all over the country over the strict Covid-19 rules.
Hospitals in China are at capacity
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that hospitals in China seem to be getting full as people worry that a new Covid-19 wave will hit the country.
Even though officials say the number of people in ICUs is “relatively low,” Dr. Michael Ryan says they are busy.
Wednesday, no one in China died of Covid, but people aren’t sure how bad the disease is.
As the latest Covid wave hits China, hospitals in Beijing and other cities have been full.
As part of its zero Covid policy, China has had strict health rules since 2020.
But the government stopped most of these controls two weeks ago after major protests against them.
Since then, the number of cases has increased, making people worry about a high death rate, especially among older people who are more likely to get sick.
Even though the number of deaths has gone up, only five people died of Covid on Tuesday and two on Monday, according to the government.
It caused Dr. Ryan, in charge of emergencies at the WHO, to ask China for more information about the latest virus spread.
During a weekly news conference in Geneva, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is in charge of the WHO, said he is very worried about how things are going in China.
He asked for specific information about the severity of the disease, hospital stays, and the need for intensive care.
Dr. Ryan also said that vaccination is the best way to stop coronavirus outbreaks.
China created and made its vaccines, but they aren’t as good at keeping people from getting sick or dying from Covid as the mRNA vaccines used in most of the world.
His comments come on the same day the German government said on Wednesday that it had sent China its first batch of BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines.
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The German vaccines will be given to expats in China first. There are thought to be about 20,000 of them.
It is the first time a foreign Covid-19 vaccine has been sent to China, but information about the size and time of delivery has yet to be made public.
Last month, when Olaf Scholz went to Beijing, he pushed for the vaccine to be given away for free to Chinese people.