Beijing drops Covid testing burden as wider easing looms

BEIJING: Residents of the Chinese capital were allowed to enter parks, supermarkets, offices and airports without testing negative for Covid-19 on Tuesday, the latest in a series of nationwide easing steps after unprecedented protests against the zero-Covid policy.
“Beijing is preparing for life again,” read a headline in the state-run China Daily newspaper, adding that people are “gradually embracing” new freedoms. Authorities have to varying degrees eased some of the world’s toughest Covid curbs, which many hope will herald a more pronounced shift to normalcy three years into the pandemic. “This could be the first step towards reopening”, Hu Dongxu27, said as he swiped his travel card to enter a train station in Beijing, which also removed the need for testing to use the subway.
The city’s two airports also no longer require people to pass a test to enter the terminal, state media reported, although there was no indication of a change in the rule. a negative test before boarding a flight. The loosening of the rules comes after a series of protests last month that marked the biggest show of public discontent in mainland China since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012. As the rallies died down, crowds students from a university in the city of Nanjing chanted during a protest. Monday against Covid politics on their campus, according to videos on Twitter. Reuters confirmed the images were taken at Nanjing Tech University.
China could announce 10 new easing measures on Wednesday, sources said. The prospect of easing raised optimism among investors. The Chinese yuan has appreciated 5% against the dollar since November. Meanwhile, officials have played down the dangers posed by the virus. “The most difficult period has passed,” said the official Xinhua News Agency said in a comment on Monday, citing the weakening pathogenicity of the virus and efforts to vaccinate 90% of the population.


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