Nov 11, 2022 - World

China eases COVID curbs

A video screen shows Chinese President Xi Jinping as security check visitorson October 15, 2022 in Beijing, China.

A video screen shows Chinese President Xi Jinping as security check visitors at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in a closed loop hotel to prevent the spread of COVID in October in Beijing, China. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China's government eased some pandemic measures Friday — including reducing quarantine periods for travelers and close contacts of people infected with COVID-19 and ending penalties on airlines for bringing virus cases into the country.

Why it matters: The new rules are a notable adjustment to President Xi Jinping's zero-COVID policy. China is the last major economy to have retained the strategy of trying to keep out the virus with measures such as lockdowns and quarantines.

The big picture: Among the adjustments, quarantine periods for travelers into China and close contacts are being cut by two days.

  • Travelers would be required to isolate for five days in a hotel or specialist government facility and a further three days at their place of residence, with similar measures for close contacts, per a statement from Beijing's National Health Commission Friday.

By the numbers: Chinese authorities confirmed 10,500 new COVID cases on Thursday — the highest in one day since April when Beijing locked down tech hub Shanghai.

What they're saying: "Optimizing and adjusting prevention and control measures is not relaxing prevention and control, let alone opening up and 'laying flat,' but to adapt to the new situation of epidemic prevention and control and the new characteristics of Covid-19 mutation," China's National Health Commission, per Reuters.

Go deeper... WHO chief: China's zero-COVID strategy not "sustainable"

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