China said on Friday it will fully restore travel across its borders with Hong Kong and Macau next week, dropping Covid testing requirements and daily quotas after a lengthy pandemic separation.
Zhang Yao recalls the moment he realized something had gone deeply wrong at the Chinese mega-factory where he and hundreds of thousands of other workers assembled iPhones and other high-end electronics.
Hazmat-suited workers poke plastic swabs down millions of throats in China each day, leaving bins bursting with medical waste that has become the environmental and economic levy of a zero-Covid strategy.
Alan Li no longer sees any future for his family in China after harsh Covid rules decimated his business, upended his son's education and left his country out of step with the rest of the world.
Shanghai will impose fresh lockdowns on residents in several city districts this weekend during a mass testing drive, officials said Friday, as President Xi Jinping called for China to stick "unswervingly" to its strict zero-Covid strategy.
China's premier has sounded an unusually stark warning about the world's second-largest economy, saying it must return to normal as the country's zero-Covid strategy bites into growth.
Business on the first day of reopening was better than anticipated although still way off pre-pandemic levels.
China's censors scrambled to wipe out online debate over its zero-Covid strategy on Wednesday after the World Health Organization (WHO) criticized the country's hardline approach to crushing the virus.
Mass testing of China's vast population could bring fresh misery to the economy, experts warned Friday, after Beijing vowed to regain control of the narrative around a zero-Covid policy that has strangled growth and fanned anger across the country.
Finally, we have made some real progress in battling the virus the scientific way, not by blindly locking down our cities and towns.
Fears of a hard Covid lockdown sparked panic buying in Beijing on Monday, as long queues for compulsory mass testing formed in a large central district of the Chinese capital.
Shanghai further eased its gruelling, weeks-long Covid-19 lockdown on Wednesday despite a mounting official death toll and tens of thousands of daily cases.
Shanghai residents scuffled with hazmat-suited police ordering them to surrender their homes to Covid-19 patients, videos on social media showed, providing a rare glimpse into rising discontent in the megacity over China's inflexible virus response.
Chinese auto makers warned they may have to put the brakes on production if strict Covid-19 curbs in Shanghai persist, with a top Huawei executive also sounding the alarm Friday about snarled supply chains.
Shanghai health officials on Monday defended a policy of separating babies and young children from their parents if they test positive for Covid-19, as frustration at the city's tough virus controls builds.
HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s top scientists urged the government on Tuesday to transition from China’s zero-Covid strategy before the next outbreak unless the financial hub wants to be a “closed port forever”. Hong Kong used strict travel curbs to keep the virus at bay for two years but these left Asia’s world city increasingly isolated and a deadly Omicron outbreak since January has led to an exodus of residents and businesses fleeing its mounting list of restrictions. The massive surge in cases has ravaged the city’s healthcare system and left it with one of the highest Covid-19 fatality rates in the developed world, with the government facing criticism for failing to vaccinate its elderly population in time. On Monday, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam announced easing travel restrictions in April, but the government did not provide a comprehensive roadmap out of the crisis beyond reducing quarantine periods for inbound travellers and opening flight paths. “The past two months were a very painful experience of loss for us and it does not allow us to wait,” top epidemiologist Gabriel Leung, who leads a team of scientists working on the virus, told reporters on Tuesday. Scientists estimate that around 4.4 million people in densely populated Hong Kong — or 60 percent of the population — have been infected so far during the Omicron wave. Official figures have clocked over a million cases and nearly 6,000 deaths since January — primarily among the unvaccinated elderly population. Leung, dean of the University of Hong Kong’s medical school and a government expert frequently cited by Lam, stressed the importance of getting vaccinated and boosted while saying Hong Kong must begin living with the virus unless it “remains a closed port forever.” He added that endemicity is the “safest road because we do not know if the next new variant is weaker or stronger than those we have seen”. In line with China, where a zero-Covid strategy has seen snap lockdowns imposed on millions of residents after even a handful of cases are detected, Hong Kong has maintained some of the world’s toughest pandemic restrictions. Beijing began remoulding Hong Kong in its own authoritarian image following massive and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests in 2019, instituting a sweeping national security law to crush dissent. A move away from a zero-tolerance strategy would mean diverging from China’s path. Last week, President Xi Jinping urged China to “stick to” zero-Covid even as several cities forced tens of millions of residents to stay in their homes with cases rising to their highest number since the early days of the pandemic.