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In the face of the most widespread national protests since the bloody crackdown on Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989, the Chinese government has abruptly abandoned its flagship zero-Covid policy, according to a media report. In Beijing, people prepared to go into shopping malls or on public transport without a recent negative test, The Guardian reported. Elsewhere, they were allowed to enter parks and supermarkets without checks or told they could quarantine at home rather than a government facility if they had come into contact with a case.

Now Beijing has decided to move on.

Now Beijing has decided to move on. Sun Chunlan, vice-premier, and Covid chief announced last week that the country’s health system had “withstood the test” of Covid-19 and China was in a “new situation. After years of telling its citizens that the only way to stay safe from Covid was to avoid it entirely, the policy pivot required a new message. Beijing has opted for presenting the prevailing Omicron variant as a less lethal version of the original disease, The Guardian reported. The problem, epidemiologists warn, is that Beijing’s stance does not reflect studies on the impact of Omicron. The country is ill-prepared for a wave of deadly Covid infections that it may soon face.

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