Beijing residents cheer as Covid rules eased
Beijing residents on Saturday cheered the removal of Covid-19 testing booths while Shenzhen said it would no longer require commuters to present test results to travel, as an easing of China’s virus curbs gathered pace.
Although daily cases are hovering near all-time highs, some cities are taking steps to loosen Covid-19 testing requirements and quarantine rules as China looks to make its zero-Covid policy more targeted amid a sharp economic slowdown and public frustration that has boiled over into unrest.
The southern city of Shenzhen announced it would no longer require people to show a negative Covid test result to use public transport or enter parks, following similar moves by Chengdu and Tianjin.
Many testing booths in the Chinese capital of Beijing have also been shut, as the city stops demanding negative test results as a condition to enter places such as supermarkets and prepares to do so for subways from Monday. Many other venues including offices still require testing.
A video showing workers in Beijing removing a testing booth by crane onto a truck went viral on Chinese social media on Friday.
“This should have been taken away earlier!” said one commentator. “Banished to history,” said another.
Reuters was not able to verify the authenticity of the footage. At some of the remaining booths, however, residents grumbled about hour-long queues for the tests due to the closures.
Three years into the pandemic, China has been a global outlier with its zero-tolerance approach towards Covid that has seen it enforce lockdowns and frequent virus testing.