CHINA has ordered Shanghai, Guangzhou and 6 other cities to shorten quarantines for overseas travellers and those who’ve had close contact with infected individuals as authorities test potential tweaks to the country’s rigorous Covid measures, according to people familiar with the matter.
The cities are reducing the period to 10 days from 14 days as part of a trial that began on Monday (Apr 11) this week and will run for a month.
Apartment complexes, retail outlets, office buildings and other locations locked down because of infections will also be allowed to open after 10 consecutive days without a positive test result, shortened from the 14 days previously required, they said.
China’s strict adherence to a policy that seeks to snuff out infections, as opposed to learning to live with the virus as other countries are, has seen millions locked down in their homes as the much more infectious Omicron variant spreads across the country.
That’s fuelled public anger in places such as Shanghai, where residents have struggled to secure supplies of food and other daily necessities, and depressed activity in the world’s second biggest economy as companies such as Tesla are forced to shut factories.
Chinese officials have shifted their focus to reaching zero spread in the community, instead of a strict zero cases goal, as the point at which they ease lockdowns. This is allowing cities to lift mass lockdowns earlier, even if cases are still being reported in isolation facilities.
The trials that began this week are aimed at avoiding a shortage of rooms for people who must quarantine and reducing the costs of such measures. They don’t represent a divergence from Covid Zero, officials said.