The Chinese government has lifted some of its strictest rules governing Covid Wednesday following protests two weekends ago that included unprecedented demands for President Xi Jinping to resign.
The government dropped virus test requirements for some public places and also did away with the forcing of people into quarantine camps during lockdowns, saying they could isolate at home if they exhibit mild or no Covid symptoms.
The move followed rare, nationwide protests across the country, set off by a deadly fire in the Xinjiang region that was aggravated when fire trucks were impeded by pandemic control barriers and cars stranded by quarantined owners.
China currently operates under a “zero Covid policy.” It is the last major economy still trying to stamp out transmission of the virus while other nations have shifted to trying to live with it. As the Chinese government lifts restrictions, officials have also started talking about the virus in less threatening terms—a possible effort to prepare people for a similar shift.