Chinese authorities have announced a gradual easing of coronavirus restrictions imposed in many major cities from Saturday, in the wake of public outrage and recent protests.
Several major cities, including the capital, Beijing, and the northern port city of Tianjin, have lifted the requirement that visitors show valid COVID-19 test results 48 or 72 hours before entering any shopping mall or public place, according to the Chinese newspaper, the Global Times.
Under the easing of restrictions, Beijing residents will also not need to provide 48-hour valid nucleic acid test results in order to board buses or subways from Monday.
A major shopping center in Beijing also reopened over the weekend after being closed for more than a week.
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“Other cities, such as Chengdu and Guangzhou in the south of the country, and Jinzhou in Liaoning Province (northeast), have also eased some restrictions,” the newspaper added.
Last week, mass protests were held in several Chinese cities against the strict epidemic policy.
And on Tuesday, the Chinese city of “Anyang” entered the stage of complete closure due to the outbreak of the Corona virus, bringing the number of residents confined to their homes to about 20 million people across China.
With these measures, the city of Anyang becomes the third Chinese city to be subjected to complete closure, in addition to the city of Xi’an, whose population of 13 million people has been in the stage of complete closure 3 weeks ago, and the city of Yuzhou, whose population of 1.1 million entered the stage of complete closure two weeks ago.
The current lockdowns are the widest since the city of Wuhan, and most of the rest of Hubei Province, were locked down in early 2020 at the start of the epidemic.
Since then, China has taken the approach of fighting the epidemic by completely locking down smaller areas with a spike in virus cases.
The protests worsened after 10 people were killed when a fire broke out in a high-rise apartment building in Urumqi, western Xinjiang, which was reportedly closed due to the coronavirus.
There were claims that the residents of the residential building could not leave their homes because the building was under quarantine, and that the firefighting teams did not intervene in time because they were unable to enter the complex surrounded by metal barriers, which caused protests in the area.
For its part, the authorities rejected these allegations, saying that “there are no barriers in the building and that the residents were allowed to leave.”