WRAPUP 1-Chinese capital prepares for 'life again' as lockdowns lift across country




  • In World
  • 2022-12-06 03:10:54Z
  • By Reuters

By Ryan Woo and Bernard Orr

Dec 6 (Reuters) - China's capital Beijing dropped the need for people to show negative COVID tests to enter supermarkets and offices on Tuesday, the latest in an easing of curbs across the country following last month's historic protests.

"Beijing readies itself for life again" read a headline in the government-owned China Daily newspaper, adding that people were "gradually embracing" the slow return to normality.

Further loosening beckons after a string of demonstrations last month that marked the biggest show of public discontent in mainland China since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012.

"This might be the first step towards reopening from this pandemic," Beijing resident Hu Dongxu, 27, told Reuters as he swiped his travel card to enter a train station in the capital, which has also dropped the need for tests to ride the subway.

The shift comes as top officials softened their tone on the severity of the virus, bringing China closer to what other countries have been saying for more than a year as they dropped restrictions and opted to live with the virus.

China may announce 10 new nationwide easing measures as early as Wednesday, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, as cities across the country have been lifting localised lockdowns.

That has sparked optimism among investors for a broader reopening of the world's second biggest economy that could boost global growth.

But despite reassurances from authorities, commuter traffic in major cities such as Beijing and Chongqing remains at a fraction of previous levels.

Some people remain wary of catching the virus, especially the elderly, many of whom remain unvaccinated, while there is also concern about the strain the loosening could put on China's fragile health system.

NEXT PHASE

China has reported 5,235 COVID-related deaths so far as of Monday, but some experts have warned that toll could rise above 1 million if the exit is too hasty.

Analysts at Nomura estimate that areas now under lockdown equate to around to be 19.3% of China's total GDP, down from 25.1% last Monday.

This marks the first decline in Nomura's closely-watched China COVID lockdown index since the start of October, nearly two months ago.

Meanwhile, officials continue to downplay the dangers posed by the virus.

Tong Zhaohui, director of the Beijing Institute of Respiratory Diseases, said on Monday that the latest Omicron variant of the disease had caused fewer cases of severe illness than the 2009 global influenza outbreak, according to Chinese state television.

China's management of the disease may be downgraded as soon as January, to the less strict Category B from the current top-level Category A of infectious disease, Reuters reported exclusively on Monday.

"The most difficult period has passed," the official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary published late on Monday, citing the weakening pathogenicity of the virus and efforts to vaccinate 90% of the population.

Analysts now predict China may re-open the economy and drop border controls sooner than expected next year, with some seeing it fully open in spring.

But more than half of Chinese say they will put off travel abroad, for periods from several months to more than a year, even if borders re-opened tomorrow, a study showed on Tuesday

Fear of infection with the disease was the top concern of those saying they would postpone travel in a survey of 4,000 consumers in China by consultancy Oliver Wyman. (Reporting by Ryan Woo and Bernard Orr in Beijing; Writing by John Geddie; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

COMMENTS

More Related News

China spy balloon: US Navy releases photos of debris
China spy balloon: US Navy releases photos of debris

The suspected Chinese surveillance balloon was shot down over the Atlantic on Saturday.

Situation with China tense, U.S. looking at other actions after balloon shootdown -Schumer
Situation with China tense, U.S. looking at other actions after balloon shootdown -Schumer

U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said relations with China were strained and the Biden administration is looking at other actions it can take...

Biden will call for fresh bipartisan action at State of the Union but faces big challenges in a divided Congress
Biden will call for fresh bipartisan action at State of the Union but faces big challenges in a divided Congress

At his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Joe Biden will call for bipartisan legislating but he faces a new House controlled by Republicans.

China says will
China says will 'safeguard interests' over balloon shootdown
  • US
  • 2023-02-07 10:17:30Z

China said Tuesday it will "resolutely safeguard its legitimate rights and interests" over the shooting down of a suspected Chinese spy balloon by the United...

China
China's luxury market shrank 10% in 2022 - Bain

China's luxury market contracted 10% in 2022 on the year, snapping a five-year streak of high growth, as Beijing's zero-COVID policy and a slowing economy...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

  • 私家偵探社
    (2022-12-06 13:00:43Z)

    Xin‧Investigative 私家偵探社 is composed of professional private investigators with more than 10 years of experience. Our 私家偵探 investigators have professional 偵探社 skills such as follow-up investigation, undercover hunting and evidence collection, and are the first choice of 香港私家偵探 agencies.

    REPLY

Top News: World