Unprecedented protests force China to loosen COVID restrictions
DHARAMSALA, 8 Dec: China has loosened its authoritarian lockdown to enforce its Zero-Covid Policy after unprecedented protests across China saw people call on Xi Jinping to step down media reports said.
Announcing a major policy adjustment, National Health Commission(NHC) said on Wednesday that asymptomatic COVID-19 cases which account for most cases of infection and people with mild symptoms can quarantine at home, in the strongest sign yet that China is preparing its people to live with the disease, Reuters reported.
“Asymptomatic persons and mild cases can be isolated at home while strengthening health monitoring, and they can transfer to designated hospitals for treatment in a timely manner if their condition worsens,” the NHC said.
The Commission has added that “the change in the quarantine protocols reflects adjustments in prevention and control measures according to the characteristics of virus mutations”.
The report however adds that “many of the changes announced by the NHC reflected steps already taken in various cities and regions in recent days, following protests against COVID controls that were the biggest demonstration of public discontent since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012”.
The policy change never the less came as a breather to Chinese netizens with hopes of returning to normalcy after the draconian policy brought mental suffering to tens of millions.
“It’s time for our lives to return to normal, and for China to return to the world,” a Chinese netizen commented on China’s Twitter-like Weibo while “Daylight is here,” wrote another.
The major policy adjustment came with a caveat though as the NHC said without mentioning its zero COVID policy that the last edition of the epidemic control protocols should be adhered to while implementing the latest measures and guidelines.
Earlier in Sept., the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) stated that China’s zero-Covid policy must be compatible with human rights as reported that forty-nine days into China’s authoritarian lockdown to ostensibly prevent and control Covid-19 in Lhasa and other major cities in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) has so far forced five Tibetans to commit suicide between 23 and 25 September in Lhasa city.
The Central Tibetan Administration(CTA), commonly known as the Tibetan government in exile condemned the policy and said that China’s draconian measures to enforce its Zero-Covid Policy in Tibet endanger the lives of Tibetan in Tibet and cause more harm than good.