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China plans to exit Zero Covid regime, but reopening will be slow and cautious: report

Chinese leadership will take steps toward reopening after imposing three years of severe pandemic restrictions following the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, the Wall Street Journal said in a report.

Authorities are working to relax border controls for incoming travelers from abroad and reduce the number of days they are expected to remain in quarantine.

The required number of days a foreign traveler must remain in isolation could be reduced to seven days, the Wall Street Journal said in its report, citing officials familiar with the developments.

However, despite these developments, no timeline has been established and the Communist Party of China (CPC) and other authorities have still pledged to adhere to Zero Covid. Even if changes are made, many measures remain in effect.

The easing of Covid-19 could also lead to a drop in the number of PCR tests people will have to undergo. Within this month itself, the frequency of routine PCR tests that retailers must perform could decrease. The frequent and citywide PCR tests that test every citizen in a particular city or region are a staple of Zero Covid.

The Wall Street Journal said the number of PCR testing stations will also be reduced.

However, these new rules will be implemented slowly and pre-pandemic normality could be reached in China after a year.

The report also pointed out that curbing outbreaks at war will continue in the same way as it is now. The report states that there may be less strict measures for cities than for rural and semi-urban regions.

People will still have to scan QR health codes on their phones to access public areas, and incoming travelers will still be subjected to several rounds of testing and strict quarantine.

Beijing officials are likely to treat Covid-19 as a class B disease, according to the Wall Street Journal. China is currently treating the disease as a class A disease, which calls for stricter public health measures.

The message that will be given to Chinese citizens is that the government has emerged victorious over Covid-19.

China is also taking these measures because it affects the economy. Even the reduction of Covid-19 testing is to cut costs, as city-wide testing is expensive as authorities aim to test every citizen.

China is also dependent on the WHO for its announcement. If WHO still considers Covid a public health emergency of international concern and doesn’t change its outlook, it could affect reopening plans. The WHO meets every three months to assess the situation and make recommendations.

The Chinese authorities also fear that lower vaccination coverage in the elderly and the emergence of new variants could lead to people getting sick, leading to hospitalizations, which will then affect people’s trust in the Communist Party of China. China (CPC) and Xi Jinping.

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