Bernard Orr, Brenda Go
BEIJING (Reuters) – People in China were used on Tuesday to track whether they have traveled to COVID-affected areas following the recent easing of some of the world’s toughest antivirus rules. celebrated the withdrawal of a state-mandated app that was
China last week announced the biggest public discontent in mainland China since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, following widespread protests last month against the curb, removing key parts of its strict “zero COVID” regime. Abolition has started.
This includes the abolition of mandatory testing before many public activities, curbing quarantines, and what critics said could be used for mass surveillance and social control of the population, the “Itinerary.” It contains an app closure called “code”.
Four Chinese telecom companies said they would delete users’ data associated with the apps after authorities deactivated them at midnight Monday. Netizens took to the social media platform Weibo to cheer for its demise.
“Bye itinerary code. I hope I never see you again,” wrote one user. “The hand that was stretched out to show strength in times of plague should now be pulled back,” wrote another.
While itinerary codes were primarily used to track domestic travel within China, authorities are also using so-called health codes to check whether residents may have been exposed to the virus. Must be scanned when entering public places.
Officials haven’t announced the abolition, but some cities, including Shanghai, said residents no longer had to show these codes when entering shops, restaurants, etc.
The lifting of restrictions comes ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays next month. Large numbers of people are expected to travel to China during this time to visit family for the first time in years.
Beijing’s special envoy to the United States said Monday that he believes China’s COVID-19 measures will be further relaxed in the near future, making it easier for international travel to the country.
Since the pandemic first broke out in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, China has mostly closed its borders, with international flights still at a fraction of pre-pandemic levels and arrivals taking eight days. are facing quarantine.
Closed borders and repeated lockdowns in major cities trying to eradicate the virus have hit the world’s second largest economy.
The lifting of restrictions is expected to brighten global economic growth prospects in the longer term, but analysts say Chinese businesses will likely slow down in the coming weeks as the wave of infections causes staffing shortages and alarms consumers. He says he will struggle.
The spread of the disease, evidenced by recent long queues outside fever clinics and testing centers, is likely to put pressure on China’s fragile healthcare system, and experts will soon said it can be overwhelming.
In the Chinese capital, Beijing, empty seats on commuter trains and empty downtown restaurants highlight people’s reluctance to embrace their newfound freedom.
“It’s understandable,” Gao Lin, a 33-year-old investor, told Reuters on the streets of the capital. It’s a personal choice.”
(Reporting by Bernard Orr of Beijing and Brenda Goh of Shanghai; Written by John Geddy; Editing by Simon Cameron Moore)