China goes easy on Zero Covid rules, but sees spike in cases. What now?

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaNov 15, 2022 | 18:53

China goes easy on Zero Covid rules, but sees spike in cases. What now?

China recorded 15, 521 new Covid cases on Monday (November 14), the highest since April 2022, when China was witnessing one of its worst health crisis. This rise in cases comes days after China eased the Covid curbs.

Photo: WHO.int

Where are the Covid hotspots? The captial city Beijing is seeing cases only in the hundreds. However, other cities in China like Chongqing, Guangzhou, and Zhengzhou are seeing cases in thousands.


Even though the infection rate is not noteworthy in comparison to the population of 141.24 crore, China's draconian 'zero-Covid policy' makes experts wonder what could unravel in the next few days.

What are the new simplified norms? Though not all neighbourhoods and public spaces have been opened yet and are still subjected to lockdowns, there are some relaxations for the citizens of China

  • Quarantine time for people who had 'close encounters' with Covid positive patients is being reduced.
  • Secondary close contacts are no longer detected and isolated, which was a major inconvenience for those who were involved in contact-tracing efforts when a case was discovered.
  • Areas judged at the potential of larger outbreaks are now classified as 'high' or 'low,' with a 'medium' category eliminated in an effort to reduce the number of people caught up in control measures.

Latest update: In a recent video that is being circulated, crowds of people in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou crashed through Covid barriers and marched down the streets in chaotic scenes on Monday night. These videos show the public resentment over coronavirus curbs.



However, dailyO cannot confirm the authenticity of these videos.

Chinese govt eases curbs on Indians travelling to China: 

Indians travelling to China only need to take one RT-PCR test within 48 hours before boarding the flight to China and apply for Green Health Code with a negative certificate. 
- The Chinese embassy announced
The new norm, went into effect yesterday (November 14), which simply means that passengers flying from India to China but transiting through a third country do not need to get a Covid-19 test done in the third or transiting country: as long as the journey from India to China takes less than 48 hours, the negative Covid-19 test result from India is valid.

This change in protocol is important because there is no direct flight between India and China at present. However, having a vaccine certificate is still important. 

Why now? The new norms come into effect after last month China was being heavily criticised for taking its zero-Covid policy too literally and making the life of its citizens a nightmare. Videos on social media were circulating of people running out of uuarantine centres and crying out for help.

Things went out of hand when a three-year-old in the northwestern city of Lanzhou died because his father was not able to take his kid timely to the hospital due to the Covid restrictions his their area. Shockingly, Chinese local authorities apologised and admitted their fault for this disaster on November 3.

What is China's absurd zero-Covid policy? The 'zero-Covid policy', was one of the most important itineraries in Xi Jinping’s last month's election campaign for his re-election for his third term (which he won). The component of the zero covid policies included frequent lockdowns, mass testing and curfews. All this was a recipe for a disaster and has impacted the tourism, employment and economy of China. 


Now, it will be interesting to see what could be the next step for the Chinese government. Will they go with locking down the country again? Or we will see an upgraded version of the government which will deal with the Covid infections without putting the country back in the cage. 

Last updated: November 15, 2022 | 19:00
    Please log in
    I agree with DailyO's privacy policy