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Major Chinese cities relax COVID-19 restrictions following protests

Millions of people in at least 21 cities do not require a negative nucleic acid test (NAT) to use public transportation, according to local media on Monday, as China continued to relax its stringent COVID-19 control measures in the face of widespread public protest.

By wasmulhaq 
Updated Date

Beijing: Millions of people in at least 21 cities do not require a negative nucleic acid test (NAT) to use public transportation, according to local media on Monday, as China continued to relax its stringent COVID-19 control measures in the face of widespread public protest.

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In locations like Beijing, where many public testing sites have been eliminated, the abrupt relaxation of severe NAT standards has also caused uncertainty, leaving residents unsure of whether the tests are even necessary.

Many Chinese cities’ commuters will now have easier access to public transportation and venues.

In the far western city of Urumqi, movie theatres were reopened after a lengthy closure; in Shenzhen, south China, NAT results were no longer required to enter supermarkets and communities; in Shanghai and Shenyang, northeast China, the requirement for a 72-hour negative test to enter the subway was removed.

The Shanghai-based news portal, The Paper, said Monday evening that as part of “daily optimization” efforts, “at least 21 cities around the country have announced that they will no longer check negative nucleic acid certificates in subways.”

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The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou eased most restrictions on mobility and reopened marketplaces and businesses for the first time in weeks.

In most cities, targeted restrictions were still in place in neighbourhoods and communities where COVID-19 cases were confirmed.

It is expected that the withdrawal of all measures under China’s “zero-carbon” policy will take several months.

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