After protests – China’s Deputy Prime Minister speaks of a “new stage” in the pandemic
With rigorous measures, China is trying to get a new corona wave under control. People protest against the rules. Now the Deputy Prime Minister is fueling speculation about possible easing.
NAfter protests against the strict corona measures, China’s Deputy Prime Minister spoke of a “new stage of the pandemic”, triggering renewed speculation about possible easing. “As the omicron variant has become less pathogenic, more people are being vaccinated and we have gained more experience in Covid prevention, our fight against the pandemic is at a new stage and entails new tasks,” said Deputy Prime Minister Sun Chunlan at a meeting of the National Health Commission on Wednesday.
The rigorous measures taken by the authorities in response to the new corona wave led to protests in several million metropolises over the weekend. It was the largest public demonstration of discontent in China in decades. In response to the rallies, a massive police presence was mobilized on the streets of Beijing, Shanghai and other cities to prevent the demonstrations from flaring up again.
Even before the protests broke out, the authorities had decided to adjust the corona measures. However, since the number of infections has recently risen sharply, many cities have imposed additional measures. The Health Commission asked the local authorities to strictly adhere to the guidelines. On Tuesday, the commission also announced that it intends to push ahead with the vaccination campaign, especially among the elderly. For fear of side effects, older people in the country of 1.4 billion people have so far been vaccinated less. Only 40 percent of people over the age of 80 have received a booster shot.
The number of reported new corona infections meanwhile fell slightly for the third day in a row. As the Health Commission reported on Thursday, around 35,800 new cases were reported the previous day. On Tuesday there were around 37,600 infections. Only recently, the number of more than 40,000 new infections per day reached a high since the beginning of the pandemic almost three years ago.