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China is further relaxing its rules on COVID, in a sign that it is preparing its people to live with the disease | World News

China will now allow people with asymptomatic COVID-19 or mild symptoms to self-quarantine at home in another relaxation of its rules.

The majority COVID cases are asymptomatic infections and mild cases, without the need for special treatment, the National Health Commission announced.

Previously, people who tested positive for the virus had to be isolated in overcrowded and unsanitary field hospitals.

It’s the biggest sign yet China it prepares its people to live with the disease.

“Asymptomatic persons and mild cases can be isolated at home with increased health monitoring, and can be transferred to designated hospitals for treatment in a timely manner if their condition worsens,” the NHC said.

Earlier this year, entire communities were locked down — sometimes for weeks — after even a single positive case was identified.

Less stringent rules last month meant only affected buildings were locked down.

The NHC said high-risk areas should be defined by building, unit, floor and household and should not be arbitrarily extended to entire neighborhoods and communities.

The health authority called on local authorities to “resolutely correct simplified, unified and add additional measures” for the prevention of COVID and to reject and overcome “formalism and bureaucracy”.

Schools that have not seen the epidemic must return to face-to-face teaching, according to the announcement.

For nearly three years, China has had some of the most restrictive rules on COVID-19 in the world under its “Zero COVID-19” policy, managing the virus as a disease on the level of bubonic plague and cholera.

But since last week, top officials have acknowledged the new coronavirus’s reduced ability to cause disease, while Chinese experts suggest it is no more deadly than seasonal flu.

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Is China’s position on COVID changing?

Yesterday, people in the capital Beijing were allowed to enter parks, supermarkets and offices without showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test in another relaxation of the rules.

People no longer need a negative COVID test to ride the subway or enter any of the city’s airports. However, there were no proposals to change the rules requiring passengers to show negative tests before boarding.

A street cleaner wears a protective suit as she picks up trash near a bus station in Beijing
The painting:
A street cleaner wears a protective suit as she picks up trash near a bus station in Beijing
China is preparing its people to live with COVID
The painting:
China is preparing its people to live with COVID

Last month video intense protests against isolation represents the largest manifestation of public discontent on the mainland since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012.

While the protests died down within days of a heavy-handed police response, cities and regions across the country began to gradually relax measures ahead of today’s announcement.

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