After almost three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us have probably learned how to coexist with the virus and try not to let it get in our way as much as possible.
But it hasn’t been the case for countries like China with a strict “zero-COVID” policy. From frequent lockdowns to daily testing, there’s no doubt that their lives are still significantly impacted by the pandemic today.
However, it seems like that might change soon.
Just today, two sources that claim to know information regarding the issue told Reuters that the Chinese government might soon ease nationwide COVID-19 management measures by moving the COVID-19 pandemic from being treated as a Category A infectious disease, the highest and most dangerous category, to a Category B one.
It is unclear when they will do so, but the sources mentioned that they might do it earliest in January.
Here’s what you need to know.
What the Different Categories Represent
Regarding the different categories, Category A comprises contagious diseases like cholera and bubonic plague.
Following that, diseases like SARS, AIDS and anthrax fall under Category B.
Lastly, conditions such as influenza, leprosy and mumps are categorised under Category C.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has been treated like a Category A disease, it actually falls under Category B, which means that local authorities can order lockdowns and make patients, as well as their close contacts, carry out quarantine.
However, an anonymous expert also noted that over 95% of COVID-19 cases in China are asymptomatic and mild, and the disease causes very few deaths in the country.
When speaking to Yicai, the expert claimed that continuing to treat the COVID-19 pandemic as a Category A disease does not match up with what the science is telling us and that it would be possible for it to be downgraded to Category B or even C in the future.
New COVID-19 Management Measures to be Revealed Soon
On the other hand, it was also revealed to Reuters that ten new COVID-19 management measures might be unveiled soon, as early as Wednesday (7 December).
One possible measure is the option of home quarantine for selected COVID-positive patients, which will be a stark change from rules set earlier this year where lockdowns would be announced if there was one positive case in a community.
Regarding this information, the National Health Commission did not immediately respond to queries from Reuters.
Recent Relaxation of Rules
In addition to the potential announcement in the near future, China also announced multiple new, more relaxed COVID-19 measures a few weeks ago on 11 November.
These measures include less stringent quarantine rules and are intended to help rebuild China’s economy while still taking the pandemic seriously.
Several large cities in China have also begun to relax their management measures by decreasing the need for regular PCR testing and eliminating the need for people to attain negative COVID-19 tests before setting foot in public areas.
Just last week, China’s Vice Premier Sun Chulan also said that the country is currently facing a “new situation” now that the Omicron virus has become “weaker”, making him the first high-ranking official in the country to admit that.
COVID-19 Situation in China: Recent Protests
With the COVID-19 pandemic being around for almost three years, many Chinese citizens have become increasingly frustrated with their country’s strict rules surrounding it.
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